AFL’s new racism furore as Betts targeted

The AFL is again embroiled in racism controversy after a fan threw what appeared to be a banana at indigenous Adelaide forward Eddie Betts.

The Port Adelaide fan stands to be banned from AFL games after footage of her widely-condemned act emerged after the Crows’ 15-point win in Saturday night’s Showdown at Adelaide Oval.

The video shows a woman waving her middle finger at Betts before throwing the object in Betts’ direction.

Betts had just kicked his fifth goal in a near best-afield showing that coincided with his 250th AFL game, and did not notice the incident.

Both clubs have condemned the act.

“The Adelaide Football Club is both disappointed and disgusted at the behaviour of some members of the crowd during tonight’s Showdown at Adelaide Oval,” an Adelaide statement read.

“Of particular concern, an object was thrown onto the field of play and in the direction of one of our players.

“The Club has contacted the Port Adelaide Football Club, Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority and AFL, and has expressed in the strongest possible terms that we expect significant action to be taken against any person found guilty of anti-social behaviour.”

Port Adelaide said it “will not tolerate” the act, calling throwing any object on the field “completely unacceptable”.

But worse than an object entering the field of play was the apparent choice of missile, which has long carried racist connotations.

Black soccer players across various European leagues have been subjected to banana-throwing across the years.

In recent times, Russian, Italian and Spanish football has been plagued by the practice.

In 2014, Brazilian international Dani Alves put the act in the spotlight by defiantly picking up a banana and eating it on the field, winning acclaim and support.

Much of the AFL’s 2015 season was marred by booing of indigenous star Adam Goodes, who retired at season’s end and declined a lap of honour at grand final day.

Fox Sports reported that the group of Power fans had been making racist remarks throughout Saturday night’s match.

The woman is yet to be identified or address the incident.

Both Crows captain Taylor Walker and chief executive Andrew Fagan hinted at a racism element in separate posts that both labelled the act “disgusting” on Twitter.

“Absolutely disgusting! Shouldn’t ever be allowed back into enjoy the football. Very disappointing,” Walker said.

“Expect strongest possible action to be taken against those throwing objects at our players. Abhorrent. Disgusting,” Fagan wrote.

Leading AFL journalist Caroline Wilson told ABC program Insiders “if it wasn’t so disgraceful it would be laughable … it’s absolutely reprehensible.”

“They need to find out who did it and ban them from attending the footy and Adelaide Oval.

“The connotations it invokes, it’s such a sad thing for the AFL.”

Port Adelaide chairman David Koch and the AFL are expected to address the matter later on Sunday.

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