I don’t know why I’m wading into these murky waters. I’m quite cranky about the social/media storm that’s swept through this week. Cranky and confused and sad and irritated. WTF is going on here folks? Because I don’t actually know or understand what’s just happened here (unlike all the other commentators, amateur and professional alike, who seem to have very firm opinions on everything) I have a need to just spew out my thoughts and see what they look like.
As a long time Sydney Swans supporter and member I have watched just about every single one of Adam Goodes’ professional games since he joined my Swannies in 1999. He’s one of a rare breed of professional sportspeople these days – the one team player – and I have a warm place in my cold heart for him because of this and many other reasons. To cut a long story short, he’s a top bloke.
But the storm around him is about the booing. Since he called out the teenage girl for referring to him as an “ape” opposition supporters have started the unfortunate spectacle of booing him whenever he touches the ball. Now this has been going on for a while but this week it has exploded into a shit fight and I’m not sure why. While there have been murmurs of “racism” it has now become a full blown, all-in brawl. The media heavyweights are into it, the social media nobodies are into it, everyone has an opinion and yet I’m stuck wondering what it’s all about.
Are the AFL supporters booing Adam Goodes racist? I don’t know. They don’t boo the other aboriginal players or players from other racial backgrounds. Is it true that they are booing him because he milks the umpires for penalties (as some are claiming)? If that’s true why aren’t these supporters booing the many other players who also do this? Are they booing him because he is a previous Australian of the Year and as such a “tall poppy” and in need of some cutting down? Again, he became Australian of the Year at the beginning of 2014 and the booing started just a few months ago.
I don’t really understand this phenomenon of booing Goodsey because all the reasons being put forward do not make sense. I suspect the people booing him do not understand themselves why they’re doing it. Therefore they are dickheads.
I’m kind of cranky that there is, as always, a call out for “someone” to do “something”. I’m a bit unclear as to what that “something” that “someone” should be doing is. Possibly the AFL could be chucking out the boo-ers from games and I see some merit in this argument. It would probably only take a few exited offenders to make it stop. But do we want booing stopped altogether? I say not. I love a good boo at a game. Nothing filled me with joy more than booing Jason Akermanis back in the day. Why? I don’t know… he was just such a great villain. Was it stupid? Sure. Is a bunch of grown men in short shorts chasing a ball around a field for 2 hours while a bunch of people drinking overpriced beer shout and cheer and swear stupid? Sure.
I don’t want booing stopped. What if they stop cheering? What if we’re offending the people not being cheered by our one sided cheering? Where does it end? What if they stopped me making lascivious comments about the players I may want to um, do inappropriate cougar-y type things with? I think I stand for people being able to say stupid things at the footy (is that enough of a platform to start a political party?). That doesn’t mean I want people to boo Adam Goodes…
Where does all this leave us? Buggered if I know. We have a bunch of morons booing a terrific footy player and an all round great man for reasons unfathomable to themselves as much as to the general public. We now have a social shit fight with lots of heated rhetoric which amounts to a big fat nothing at the end of the day.
Unfortunately this is not something, like gay marriage or medical cannabis, which can be legislated. You can’t legislate against stupid.
All I know is Adam has had a wonderful career at the Swans, as an AFL player with two Brownlow Medals, as an indigenous man trying to make things better for his people and all Australians. He deserves better than this. I sincerely hope he doesn’t leave the game at this time feeling defeated because he’s much bigger and better than this.