Adam Goodes should apologise, says mother of girl who called him an ape,‘If he hadn’t have carried on like a pork chop it wouldn’t have mattered,’ woman says. ‘I don’t think he should retire, he should man up and just take it’
The mother of a 13-year-old girl who called Adam Goodes an “ape” during the AFL’s Indigenous Round in 2013 has blamed him for the booing he continues to endure from AFL crowds.
Goodes has taken indefinite leave from the Sydney Swans and is reported to be considering retiring from the game in the wake of the attacks he has endured from some members of the media and public figures.
The mother, identified only as Joanne, said Goodes should not have singled out her daughter for using the racial slur, and blamed the altercation for the booing and criticism Goodes has faced since.
“If he hadn’t have done it he wouldn’t be having the problems he’d be having now,” she told Fairfax. “He probably should apologise because maybe he should have picked his target a little bit better.
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“She’d only turned 13 five days beforehand. She was technically still 12. She had no idea what she was saying.”
The girl, Julia, was escorted from the ground by security guards after she was identified by Goodes as having called him an “ape”. The player called on the media not to vilify her and refused to press charges.
Julia, who has said she did not know the connotations of the word, had been a victim of unfair treatment, Joanne said. Goodes should not retire, she said, but needed to accept the taunts directed at him while getting on with the game.
“Picking on a 13-year-old child I thought was absolutely ridiculous and having her questioned by police without an adult being present was absolutely disgusting on the part of himself and the AFL,” she said, adding: “It was the way he carried on on the ground that made them do what they did.
“If he hadn’t have carried on like a pork chop it wouldn’t have mattered. I don’t think he should retire, he should man up and just take it if he wants to play the game.”
Goodes, an ambassador for Indigenous Australians, has faced a spate of attacks from the media and the public, despite being booed during AFL games for weeks on end.
The row came to a head last weekend when Goodes’s Sydney Swans team-mate, Lewis Jetta, celebrated a fourth-quarter goal with the Indigenous war cry dance, throwing an imaginary spear at the crowd in response to the booing.
In a media conference on Thursday morning the Swans chief executive, Andrew Ireland, said he hoped Goodes would return to the game after a short break.
“My gut feeling is he will want to play, he’s obviously doing some contemplating away from the game at the moment,” Ireland said.
“It’s disappointing he ended up in this situation. It shouldn’t have happened to him.”
He described Goodes as a great Australian who gave back to the community.
“I don’t know what else you need to do in Australia to be a good Australian, and the fact that some people don’t like him making some comments around Indigenous people is the reason to me he’s copping the criticism that he is.”
In a show of support for Goodes, the Richmond football club announced it would wear its Dreamtime football guernsey in its match against Hawthorn on Friday night, the first football club to make a match-day gesture of support.
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“This club values diversity, and given the events surrounding Adam Goodes recently, the club felt it timely to restate that commitment publicly by wearing our Dreamtime jumper against Hawthorn,” Richmond’s chief executive, Brendon Gale, said.
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“We want to support Adam Goodes, who has been a wonderful ambassador for our game and his people. The vast majority of football fans acknowledge and respect that fact.
“More broadly, our game has done a lot to build understanding and respect, and it is important we take a stand when we think that is at risk of being eroded.”
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, told the ABC on Thursday morning he agreed the backlash against Goodes was racially motivated. “There’s no doubt in my opinion a lot of the backlash he has faced is because of race, and I think other people join in because that’s what people do,” he said.
“He’s a great Australian, a great footballer, who also happens to be Indigenous.”
On Tuesday, a row erupted on SEN radio over the booing of Goodes. Link to video
On Wednesday the row spread into another code after the former Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Griffin McMaster tweeted: “Adam Goodes calls Australia Day invasion day … Deport him … If you don’t like it leave.”
He deleted the tweet, but not before facing a spate of critcism. He later tweeted: “If anyone is offended. My apologies.”
McMaster, who now plays for Heidelberg United in the Victorian Premier League, was stood down by his club just before its FFA Cup match against Broadmeadow Magic on Wednesday night.
An Aboriginal health expert with RMIT University, assistant professor Aunty Kerrie Doyle, said racism could have a detrimental impact on mental health.
“Racism is one of the most salient determinants of mental health and having young leaders like Adam Goodes and Lewis Jetta booed for being overtly Aboriginal affects all Aboriginal people,’’ she said.
“To live under constant disapproval from state and people for merely ‘being’ is stressful, and a cause of such high levels of psychological distress in all Aboriginal people.
Doyle called for war dances to be embraced on sporting fields.
“Indigenous people around the Pacific all have their own ‘war dances’ in the form of the popular Haka and it is interesting no one is offended when these Indigenous people threaten harm to opponents,’’ Doyle said.
“Yet when two Aboriginal men perform a modest war dance, they are booed by the same crowd that would have supported the other tribes.’’