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I once booed Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes is an Australian I rate highly as not only a footballer but as a pillar of our society. His performances off the field are just as outstanding as those on it. Unfortunately, because of the continued racist abuse he receives from fans he may not grace the football field again.

Most games I’ve seen him play will at some stage see me applauding his legendary skill, but one game in 2008 I booed hysterically (at the TV in the comfort and safety of my lounge room) after he engaged in some fairly rough play … against a team I follow (hence the fanatical booing).

He was reported for the incident. To my dismay he beat the charge.

The Swans were playing the Lions the following week and Lion’s coach Leigh Matthews was incensed. He obviously didn’t want Goodes lining up against his team, and had this to say:

… Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews described Sydney’s dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes as a “protected species” before Saturday night’s Gabba clash.

Asked a seemingly innocuous question on Friday about who would play on the Swans’ danger man, Matthews made it clear what he thought of Goodes beating a striking charge at Wednesday’s AFL Tribunal hearing.

The not guilty verdict that allowed Goodes to line up for a club record-equalling 194th consecutive match clearly rubbed Matthews the wrong way.

“Many players are envious of Adam Goodes for many reasons. We hope that his protected species status ends when he comes over the white line,” Matthews said in Brisbane.

“I don’t know about the umpires (if he’s a protected species), but (at) the tribunal he certainly is.

“And he plays for the Swans so he’s got the double whammy.

“And he’s got the dual Brownlow Medallist `get out of jail free’ card, so he’s got them all.”

Wow. Yes, it was a big deal at the time. Imagine if he said that today!

But getting back to my point … I booed Adam Goodes. I’ve probably booed him a number of times since, and if he continues to play, which I truly hope he does, I will boo him again if he engages in play that is contrary to the rules of the game. I will boo any player for the same reason (except those on my own team, of course). And I will applaud Adam Goodes for his skills, as I would any player of any team (and especially mine, which goes without saying).

It would be sad if we couldn’t engage in some light-hearted or heartfelt booing if it is in the spirit of the game. It’s also sad that Indigenous players are subjected to racist taunts by fans and players.

But most of all, it is sad it has come to this.


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  1. Chris Haviland

    Roswell (is that your real name?) this is an outrageous article, and will just give the Goodes haters and Swans haters more encouragement to continue their ugly campaign. That’s called dog-whistling.

    Goodes was cleared of the striking charge in 2008 (against Port Adelaide actually) because there was nothing in it. Unless you are accusing the Tribunal of being corrupt. As for Leigh Matthews, he should have been charged with misconduct, as he clearly inferred that the Tribunal was biased. If anyone is a “protected species” it is Matthews.

    Contrary to some of the assertions of the haters, Goodes does play within the rules. He is not a “dirty” player by any stretch (“dirty” being just another racial profiling term, i.e. “black equals “dirty”), To bring up a supposed incident from 7 years ago is typical of the pathetic justification for the booing we are seeing in this whole disgraceful saga. This is not what I expect from AIMN.

    Chris Haviland
    Former Federal MP for Macarthur
    Sydney (as in Sydney Swans)

  2. Roswell

    Hi Chris, no I wasn’t accusing the tribunal for being corrupt. I’m saying that I booed him for the incident, and at the time I actually thought he’d miss a game for it.

    The reason I brought up this incident, and to quote Matthews, was to give some ‘strength’ for the reason I booed.

    I’m sorry that you think I’ve belittled The AIMN. I stand by what I posted though and I’m sure that most readers will not take the offense that you have.

  3. whatismore

    You should never boo.

  4. Roswell

    People have been booing since the first bounce of the very first game. People boo to put a player off of his kick for goal. People boo a player from an opposing team who has been reported.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Chris, Roswell is a Port supporter, so he has mentioned on here once or twice.

  6. john

    It wasnt only the booing that has caused this…being called an “ape”…and told to “get back to the zoo” is crossing the line….so dont try sanitise and “white wash” the facts. A white person deciding whether a black person has been vilified? A white person decidng on the black persons behalf whether the said black person should be offended? REALLY?

  7. Roswell

    John, I was as appalled as anybody about those episodes.

  8. FreeThinker

    Adam Goodes is a whistle-blower on those myopic ethno-centric elements that form part of our mainstream culture, and more specifically, our sporting culture.

  9. Roswell

    Whilst I don’t agree with you, FreeThinker, I can see where some people can make that call. Personally I don’t. We need to be in Adam’s shoes to really know what he’s going through, which we’re not. I can only expect that it’s fairly bad and his tolerance level has been reached.

  10. Harquebus

    I do not respect anyone just because they can kick a ball or hit one with a bat. My heroes are the thousands of volunteers who receive no recognition, no glory and no reward. Sport is and its participants are overrated and therefore, Adam Goodes, just like all sports persons, receives very little sympathy from me.

  11. eli nes

    I have also booed the bastard for his play and buddy and many others but have never experienced this style of booing. One jock got it right ‘if only he hadn’t reported that 13 year old and put his Aboriginality out front in the Indigenous round’.This is the absolute classic Australian racism. It is the Aborigine’s fault not mine. Eddie’s jibe about Goodes playing king kong makes it certain that racism is accepted at collingwood. This type of racism is cloaked as a joke and again the Aborigine is too soft if he can’t take a joke. So it is not my problem it is his.
    I have watched footie since my dad came back from the war and played in the NT till the early 70s. i have seen awful examples of deliberate racial slurs but NEVER like the nasty deliberate action of thousands of Australians losing control.
    As a school teacher, I am aware that teachers, students and society are taught to be racist and can be untaught. It is not a natural human trait. Unfortunately, I am tagged as a bleeding heart and such assertions that all public servants including Pollies, police, corrective services, armed service personnel and teachers(especially pre-school and primary private school teachers) should be tested for racism, That all university students should be examined through jane elliot’s blue eye experiment.
    Any person of Aboriginal appearance will meet institutional racism, at ever level of society. The most shameful example in my life was working with an Aborigine and when he spoke the listener looked at me not BJ. When an answer was required it was invariably delivered to me not BJ.
    My peers and bosses found many reasons to dismiss my arguments and ignore my request to actively expose and remove racism.
    However, they have missed the main reason for the guaranteed failure of action against racism.
    Learning needs re-inforcing and Australian society is visible in every media outlet. Insidious stereotyping is rife in every celebrity announcer, newsreader and commentator. None of these people are racist in terms of overt rednecks(Australia has plenty of them) but all exhibit racist stereotyping and invariably avoid any effective anti-racist action.
    Still there is stan grant, charlie king, the black olive, the AFL/NRL stars and some mainstream Europeans who, with a few Asian migrants, know the depth of racism in Australia has diminished for most races except Aborigines who, in government terms, are treated with the greatest racist indignity of all. They are linked by the worst 4 letter word in racism ‘THEY’ and are left without the rights to be an individual.
    Would we be horrified by ‘they’???

  12. mmc1949

    “Meant well but not helpful” is about the kindest thing I can say about this article. Really, not good.
    “The Drum” from tonight (31/7) should be compulsory viewing for all Australians for the effects of racist behaviour that the perpetrators – most of us – don’t even think about.

  13. Terry2


    Yes, I saw the Drum program ; what I’m still not clear on, if this is racism is it more evident in the AFL than the NRL ? In the latter code there are quite a number of superb athletes with aboriginal and islander heritage but I’m not aware of any racist heckling coming from the crowd.

    Obviously there is plenty of emotion and advice coming from the crowd and if every time a player is called “a big girl” we had an outbreak of gender based bias claims we’d be in a real fix.

    My advice to Adam Goodes is to get back on the field and continue to thrill us : leave the crowd to sort out the bigots.

  14. Kaye Lee

    There are plenty of examples of racism in the NRL. Ben Barba got spat on by a Canterbury supporter. Timana Tahu left the Blues State of Origin camp because of ongoing racial slurs by Andrew Johns. Greg Inglis and his wife were subjected to a vile online racial attack.

    Ignoring the problem is not acceptable. Racism stops with me.

  15. corvus boreus

    My gut feeling;
    Some of the people booing Goodes are doing so because they disapprove of aspects of his conduct. both on and off field.
    Some are booing because they are racist idiots.
    Most are simply booing because of the infectious nature of mob behavior when massed in parochial colours under banners.

    Meanwhile, in non-sports related matters…

  16. Roswell

    Oh dear. So I’m not allowed to be passionate about my football. Am I allowed to applaud?

    And for your information I haven’t a racist bone in my body. I’m offended by your suggestion that I have.

  17. Roswell

    Shame on you. 😉

  18. Harquebus

    Searching the “origins of racism”, I found an article that stated racism can be overcome when one has to rely on someone regardless of their race. Brothers in arms for example.
    As I have never been involved in armed conflict, I would be interested to hear of any real life examples.

  19. Disgusted

    Seriously, this is the exact time you think it’s appropriate to defend booing the man? This is self-indulgent navel gazing and is way out of place at AIMN.

  20. corvus boreus

    I think the seeds of potential for racism are in most of us, in attitudes from historical/cultural identification to sexual preferences.

    For example, I tend to be more interested in European history (my predominant ancestry is from N/W Europe) than that of the people of other geographical areas, and I am generally most attracted to women with lesser melanin concentrations and retroussé noses (although human beauty can wear many hues and shapes).

    I think someone truly becomes a racist (or any other form of bigot) when they allow their prejudices to define their character and dictate their views and actions beyond the possibility of rational consideration of the poential validity and virtue in the ‘other’.

  21. Roswell

    Disgusted, you’re twisting it around to make it look as though I’m defending those idiots who racially abused Adam Goodes. That is not the case. Perhaps you need to re-read what I wrote.

    With everything being taken out of context like it has, I damn wish I hadn’t have published it.

  22. Harquebus

    I am glad that you did publish and good on you for doing so.

  23. Roswell

    Thanks Harquebus. I appreciate that. I had considered taking it down as apparently it’s doing damage to The AIMN.

  24. Chris Crash

    We are missing the point that the booers are an absolute minority. Estimates of the numbers in the Eagles crowd last week were 1000 maximum. Unfortunately, these sheep, and their defenders, tar the rest of us with their ignorant, racist bigotry. The booing had almost stopped, but these bullying thugs hiding in the Eagles’ crowd had waited almost two years to behave like a lynch mob. These are the people that divide Australia, not the likes of Adam Goodes, who as a decent human being has done his best to bring our attention to past injustice, not to blame us. All the people who justify the booing are just making excuses for their own prejudice and obviously lack any understanding of the negative contribution they are making to our society. One can only hope that their legacy does not come home to roost, on their and our children in the future.

  25. Roswell

    Well said, Chris.

  26. Bronte ALLAN

    Watching AFL, I have called many players, regardless of the color of their skin, “dirty”, NOT because of the color of their skin, but because they are “dirty” players, does that make me racist? I think Goodes is a fine player, but like every other player I see playing for frees etc, I do not like what they do. Does that make me racist? Had the Swans been playing in Adelaide against the Crows, I would have booed (constantly!) the traitor Tippet, & also the traitor Franklin, both for betraying their respective clubs & just out to get a a huge pay rise from the Swans, does that make me racist? I agree with Roswell’s article, to boo someone does not make me a racist, to continually boo Goodes is very racist.

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