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Adam Goodes: Free Speech Vs the Moral Authority to Express a View

Our Constitution does not guarantee free speech. It only implies that we have it. That being said, we assume that anyone has a right to express a view. There are some, like Andrew Bolt, who despite us supposedly living in an enlightened society want to enshrine in law the right to hate each other.

What I am getting at here is that having an opinion about booing Adam Goodes has turned into a national pastime. However, all this week, despite the right to free speech, I have been questioning the moral right of some to do so.

Let me make it absolutely clear: I abhor racism with all the intellectual and moral righteousness that has been bequeathed to me by good people. Something unexplainable within me has its way when I am confronted by nefariousness and I speak out.

Adam Goodes is a victim of racism for two reasons. Firstly, because he was named Australian of the Year which obligated him, or gave him license to speak on issues concerning Aboriginality. Secondly, he confronted a young girl who called him an ape. This is the most rancid racist thing you can call any dark skinned person.

He was no longer a champion footballer. He had crossed the line that former Collingwood Football Club President Alan McAlister so ludicrously expressed so many years ago:

“… as long as they behave like white people, well, off the field, everyone will admire and respect them.”

Yes, people have a right to free speech but when there is an absence of truth, a distortion calculated to inflame or just common bigotry I unleash my right to question their motives. When there is a racist element in what they are saying I feel duty bound to question their moral authority to opine. Often it simply displays their hypocrisy so this is where I shall start.

Shane Warne in my view is the greatest bowler to ever roll his arm over. As an individual, throughout his career he has been involved in scandal after scandal displaying pathetic social behavior. What sort of role model has he been? He even started a charity as a PR exercise at the height of his misconduct. You be the judge. Mine is that his comments show the intellectual depth of a flea. And that’s being kind.

“If the public don’t like a sportsman because of the way they play the game, they boo, if they like them they cheer, nothing to do re racism”.

Last September after a Swans game against Richmond, Warne said he was:

 “shocked” Goodes had been named Australian of the Year.

Adam Goodes points the finger after being called an 'ape' by a young Collingwood supporter (image from theage.com.au)

Adam Goodes points the finger after being called an ‘ape’ by a young Collingwood supporter (image from theage.com.au)

Alan Jones, the sanctimonious self-righteous biased shock jock habitual liar from Sydney accused Goodes of ‘playing the victim’. Jones was once arrested in a London toilet and faced two charges of outrageous public indecency while behaving in an indecent manner, said he was affronted that Goodes would challenge a 13 year old girl. Jones completely ignored the facts of the events that unfolded, overlooked Goodes’ efforts to meet with and counsel the girl, and portrayed the girl as the victim.  As for the girl’s obviously inherited morality from the mother, what can one say other than feel pity. I have two grandsons aged 9 and 11 who think the treatment of Goodes is terrible and fully understand that racism is inherently a bad thing. They have needed little instruction on the subject. Should I go on about Jones incitement of the Cronulla riots or his proven history of prostituting his ‘opinions’ and repeatedly disseminating falsehoods as well as having publicly endorsed the idea of murdering our then PM by drowning at sea?

You be the judge.

Andrew Bolt, convicted ‘racist’ and all round appalling paid for controversial opinion journalist – individual who demanded the PM give him more free speech to vilify without constraint also expressed his horror at Goodes confronting the girl:

“Singling out a girl for public humiliation, like that, I thought was wrong and if Adam Goodes said it was wrong, I think he’d be a superstar; all people from either sides would rush to embrace him.”

In doing so he too gave a completely false account of the events that took place. You be the judge. If it were my daughter I would embrace Goodes and say “thank you”. As for the mother’s contribution I can only say she needs a lesson or two in parenthood.

Tony Abbot, a leader with little capacity for it offers lukewarm “we should show more respect” support but when it suits his political needs displays racist overtones against Muslims.

Ross Greenwood, economics commentator, said about his booing of Goodes: “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s got nothing to do with his race, it’s got nothing to do with me being racist”. He didn’t stop to consider that by contributing to the booing himself, he was legitimizing the real racists.

Sam Newman, the resident ageing buffoon and perpetual aficionado of crassness on the Footy Show; the man who bared his genitals on television and who has affronted many with his sexism and disgusting behavior. The man who painted his face black after Nicky Winmar didn’t appear on the show in 1999 opined that “People aren’t booing you [Goodes] because you’re Aboriginal, they’re booing you because you’re acting like a jerk”. (Only he would know).

He went on to state that Goodes’ celebration only served to provoke fans and should have been reprimanded by the AFL. Newman further said:

“As Australian of the year, you should know that- you should be trying to unite people instead of trying to divide them”. (Isn’t that what he has been doing by speaking about the problems facing Indigenous people?)

You be the judge but for me Newman and other white men like him who have made fortunes out of thoughtlessness have not the remotest capacity to understand the emotional torment that racial abuse might incur. He is one of those many men who have never really grown up and his antics prove it.

Jason Ackermanis, former champion and perennial bad boy of the Brisbane Lions parroted the remarks of Alan Jones and in doing so showed little empathy or understanding of the broader picture. He said that Goodes was “playing the victim”. Something that Akermanis made a career of doing. In 2010 he said that gay footy players should “stay in the closet”. In 2005 Akermanis sparked racial controversy when he used his radio program (the Aker and Macca Show) on Brisbane’s 98.9 FM to describe his employers as “monkeys”. It was an Aboriginal community owned station run by the legendary Tiga.

You be the judge but have any of these people made the slightest attempt to comprehend emotionally what it must be like to be being booed by thousands of people every time you go near the ball and not comprehend why they are doing it or conversely believe they are doing it because of the colour of your skin? I can feel it as I write but I bet my feelings are unworthy of his. Does he hear in the raised hiss of intolerance the eco of the wounds from the racism he experienced as a child? Or does he hear in the booing crescendo a symphony of humiliation from the white bastards he seeks to befriend.

The problem here is that the people aforementioned have a common thread. They all are paid huge amounts to be controversial. They are all media tarts with dubious moral standards that brings into question their moral authority to make judgement on their fellow humans. Rather they are insisting on the right to tell them how to behave. And do so while theirs goes unquestioned. What two-faced hypocrisy it is.

These people aside the media generally speaking have made some worthwhile contributions to the issue of race in Australia.

As much as it offends my pride of country I have to admit that the tide of racism flows down the streets of our cities, and through the veins of our culture. And it waters the fields of our play.

As a citizen of the state of Queensland said:

“Let me get this straight … If Adam Goodes stands up against racism that makes him a racist? And if someone makes racial slurs towards him and he doesn’t just “cop it” like all the rednecks want him to, then he’s a sook and a troublemaker?”

These are my thoughts. You be the judge.

More by me. Put Andrew Bolt in the Headline and Anyone will read it. John Lord.

 

13 comments

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  1. Ken Boyne

    Hear! Hear!

  2. Harquebus

    Without hate, there can not be love. Good and bad, saintliness and evil, right and wrong.
    One can not exist without the other. It is a constant battle between the forces and none can ultimately win or lose so, keep up the good work.
    No Starwars jokes please.

  3. Christel Nathan

    Thank you John ?????

  4. Bilal

    Thanks. Great article and naming and analysing the knuckle draggers before the literate section of the nation is a good contribution to cleaning the stables of their detritus. Their drivel is the literary equal of cholera.

  5. Graham McAllister

    Missed the point entirely.

    Nobody I know holds anything against Adam Goodes for standing up against racism, but he overstepped the mark referring to a 13 year old girl as “the face of racism” to the national press after becoming aware of her age, and the circumstances her mother faced.

    That with staging for frees and contesting the ball leading with his knees is what has him offside with most people booing him.

    Defending a 13 year old girl from an elite, press savy, athlete and having an opposing view of his onfield tactics does not make a racist. It has nothing to do with a persons ethenticity, nor the color of their skin.

    The real racists are those who choose to defend his actions for the sole reason being……..his heritage.

  6. mars08

    “Missed the point entirely.”

    Ahhh ha ha ha ha ha ha….oh that’s hilarious!!!

  7. Whatismore

    Thanks John. You have named all the culprits and their motives for pillorying Goodes.

  8. johnlord2013

    Graham re read the Alan Joes part. And consider this. Her age makes it all the worse.

  9. corvus boreus

    What have I leaned from all this?

    That shock-jocks, sports-pundits and other opinionators can be racist bigots? Kind of knew that already.
    That some people at the footy can behave like a mob of pigs? Yeah, old news.
    That Australia, with a history of both dispossession and partial extermination of indigenous peoples, and explicit racially discriminatory legislature, has lingering societal problems with racism against Aboriginals? No surprises there.
    That media dog-whistling (in this case racial) around the stage of sporting-circuses can distract public focus and dialogue away from other issues, like ongoing political perfidies? Old song.

    I guess there is only so much to be learned from watching sport and analyzing ‘boos’.

  10. Trish Corry

    Great article John.

    A lot of people are arguing about Booing and Adam Goodes. Booing is in poor form.
    Booing an individual is significantly poor form.
    Booing an individual constantly is bullying and poor form, which could ONLY be to denigrate and shame that person.
    Booing an individual constantly AFTER they have asked you to stop is overt aggressive bullying targeting the victim KNOWING it shames and hurts them, which is worse.
    Booing an individual constantly AFTER they have asked you to stop because it is felt by that individual to be racist and hurtful, is then overt Bullying which is knowingly done with the complete understanding that the Individual feels racially attacked. This is not only wrong, but it is sick and twisted and indeed it is racist.

    When our sports people do dodgy or unfair plays, it is fair enough to yell out “Oh Come On!!” or ask the Ref if he is F*N Blind if they get away with it. But Booing? No excuse sits OK with me. If you watch footy and boo, you’re a bloody idiot.

  11. Kyran

    The discussion about ‘free speech’ leaves me more confused every day. I grew up in a world where robust discussion was regarded as good. It challenged your belief’s, allowed you to refine and develop your argument. Opened your thinking to other points of view, other aspects of a discussion. It also allowed you to judge other’s arguments and assess them based on their merit. There are many people whose opinions I value greatly, even though they may cause me discomfort. I welcome their views because they are intelligent, sincere and open to discussion. There are others I avoid because they are devoid of fact, predictably dogmatic and incalcitrant
    “Yes ,people have a right to free speech but when there is an absence of truth, a distortion calculated to inflame or just common bigotry I unleash my right to question their motives.”
    In years gone by, if I stood in a lovely green field and screamed it was purple, I imagine some concerned individual would help me find my medication or take me off for some sort of treatment. Such was the regard for the clearly delusional.
    These days, I imagine most of the luminaries you refer to in your article would join me in the field, ignore my clearly delusional state and insist I had a right to free speech.
    Whilst a very simplistic premise, I hope it explains why I feel confused. I don’t understand how anyone’s notional right to free speech entitles them to spruik garbage. Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  12. Anthony Shorter

    Another thread to Alan jones’ part on racism, or non racism in sport; during his brief term as coach of the Wallabies, Jones stripped Mark Ella of his well deserved captaincy of the team and gave it to one of his pets.
    Shortly thereafter Ella left rugby and Australia lost the service of one of the most exciting and talented players of his generation.

  13. Anthony Shorter

    Oops. Have just checked details on line and my facts re Jones’ demotion of Mark Ella may be a bit iffy.
    Can someone confirm or deny the episode

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