AFL players say no room for racism

AFL players have joined those calling out the banana-throwing incident as a racist act that needs to be stamped out of the game.

On Saturday night, indigenous Adelaide star Eddie Betts had a banana thrown at him by a Port Adelaide fan.

A Port Adelaide investigation concluded the act was racially motivated, and the woman had her membership cancelled indefinitely.

AFL Players’ indigenous advisory board chair and Hawthorn premiership-winner Shaun Burgoyne said the incident had appalled players.

“There’s no room for racism of any form in our game and we are saddened that incidents of this nature continue to occur,” Burgoyne said.

“Eddie Betts is one of the most popular players in the game and his 250th match should have been a time for celebration.

“The AFL industry is taking great strides to ensure Aussie Rules is a game for everyone, but this serves as a reminder that more work needs to be done.

“We are buoyed by the emphatic response from the community and hope this incident provides an opportunity for further education.”

The AFL Players Association congratulated Port Adelaide for their “swift action” taken following the ugly incident.

The throwing of a banana towards Betts drew instant comparison to similar racist acts targeting black soccer players.

AFL aboriginal advisory committee chair Paul Briggs said AFL fans were appalled by the behaviour.

“While speculation and debate will occur around the motivation of such behaviour, it is clearly an unambiguous racist act, something most fair-minded Australians would find appalling and unacceptable,” he said.

A man purporting to be the father of the banned fan told Adelaide radio station 5AA his daughter was not racist, and was subject to sensationalised “media rubbish”.

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