Port defend backdown on AFL lifetime ban

Port Adelaide say the woman who racially attacked indigenous Crows star Eddie Betts should be allowed back into AFL games if she makes amends.

Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan and captain Taylor Walker are among those who have called for the Power supporter to be banned for life after she threw a banana at Betts on Saturday night.

Port chairman David Koch on Sunday promised the woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, would receive a lifetime ban if her attack on Betts was found to have been racist.

The club later determined the attack was racially motivated but softened their language, saying the supporter would be banned “indefinitely” from attending Port games.

Officials say the woman has expressed remorse and accepted the club’s offer of cultural awareness training led by Aboriginal programs manager Paul Vandenbergh and the club’s seven Aboriginal players.

“I think indefinite is a good opportunity,” Vandenbergh said on Monday.

“There’s no use banning someone for life and not giving them an opportunity to be educated, and that’s what all of our programs have always been about.”

Koch earlier told 5AA radio the club did not want to “crucify” the young woman and believed the awareness program could change her attitude for the better.

The program includes discussions on Aboriginal history and the effect discriminatory policies have had on Aboriginal people.

Vandenbergh said he believed the club would be open to reinstating the woman’s membership if she showed she was willing to learn and do the right thing.

“I think if we can see that she’s trying and she’s really remorseful about it, I think there’s an opportunity for that to happen,” he said.

The woman has spoken briefly to club officials and has arranged to meet with them at Port’s Alberton Oval headquarters on either Monday or Tuesday.

Betts did not attend a Crows recovery session on Sunday and has since kept a low profile but spoke to Adelaide chief Fagan over the phone.

“He was doing OK,” Fagan told ABC radio.

“He was in pretty good spirits.

“I’ve no doubt that he considers these sorts of incidents deeply offensive to him and his people but he’s a resilient character and I think he’ll be looking to move on pretty quickly.”

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