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Returning the Goodes

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Don't be a racist: support Adam Goodes

It is with less than happy heart we turn to sport and learn that racism dominated one sport over the last two months.

Indigenous footy player, Adam Goodes, who plays for the Sydney Swans in the Aussie rules (AFL), has been copping the most appalling racist filth from a number of "sports" fans.

In the immediate, the current round of racism has been going on for two months, but the entire issue has been stressing Goodes, and, I suspect, all of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, for two years now.

The timeline for those of a less sporty bent is as so.

In 2013, during the Indigenous round of the AFL Goodes was playing for the Swans against Collingwood when an adolescent Collingwood fan called him an ‘ape’. Goodes stopped and brought attention to this and asked that the young fan be made aware that insults like "ape" are racist when directed at an Indigenous player.

He didn’t scream purple faced rage at the young girl, he didn’t grab her by the scruff of the neck and throw her to the ground, he simply brought attention to the insult and its racist nature. Goodes asked for the young woman to be supported through this ordeal.

Could he POSSIBLY have been more gentle with her?’ wrote Peter FitzSimons in his column last week (31 July).

However, the right wing nut jobs leapt all over this and began a campaign of vilifying Goodes for asking that racial insults not to be yelled at sporting fixtures. With Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine prominent here.

From then on an undercurrent of ugly racism followed Goodes wherever he went.

Then this year, also in the Indigenous round of 2015, Goodes did an Indigenous war dance after kicking a goal in the Swans match against Carlton.

So now the racist nut jobs began to crucify Goodes once more. For the last two months, every time Goodes touched the ball, a hideous, ugly round of racist booing went up.

It was – and is – a considerable strain on Goodes, and last weekend he had to take stress leave from the game, and didn’t play against the Adelaide Crows in the match against Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

So that’s the bad, but good came out of this in a range of forms.

The Sydney Swans supporters arranged a powerful gesture of support for Goodes for the Crows game.

Goodes wears number 37 and so the supporters arranged for a standing ovation to go up in the seventh minute of the third term — 3:7.

So I tuned into the game and recorded the event:

I felt so much better upon hearing the roar of support go round the Sydney Cricket Ground. I hope Adam Goodes saw it as well and it provided a lift to his spirits, so badly needed for him and all Australia’s Indigenous peoples at this time.

Other clubs provided support: the Western Bulldogs wore their Indigenous strip, while captain Bob Murphy wore a number 37 jersey for the toss before the start of their game against Essendon. Richmond wore their Indigenous strip for their match against Hawthorn.

Collingwood player Travis Varcoe wore an Indigenous-coloured armband with number 37 on it. Returning to Sydney, Goodes’ Indigenous team mate Lewis Jetta did an Indigenous war dance after the first goal of the game was scored.

So plenty of good, and let us hope that it is enough good to see Australia fight its way out of these dark days of racism.

So then hoping to leave the dark side of sports and concentrate on simply the scores and who played well or badly, I was to be disappointed.

For just as I was writing this morning, a Facebook friend sent through this:

The Reuters story alleges:

Endurance runners suspected of doping have been winning a third of Olympic and world championship medals, two news organizations said on Sunday, after a leak of thousands of blood test results from 2001-2012 threw global athletics into chaos.’

So doping in sport rears its ugly head again and we return to the dark side.

The next major athletics event is the World Championships to be held in Beijing in August, and WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) is going to attempt to get to the bottom of these alleged drug offences in the run up to the event.

We can only hope they do, although the fact that it has been going on seemingly under the nose of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) for ten years doesn’t give one much confidence that there will be any progress, once more, it seems the cheats are well ahead of the testers.

So, as we come towards the end of the column, I will squeeze in some actual sports results.

The Tour de France has concluded for 2015 and the up side was that, so far, there have been no performance enhancing drug issues in this seemingly perpetually drug ridden sport.

The women’s event, La Course, was severely rain affected and a number of horrendous crashes saw riders splattered across the road, though thankfully there no major injuries.

The event was won by Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen, with Belgium’s Jolien D’Hoore second and another Dutch rider, Amy Pieters, third.

For the men, Britain’s Chris Froome won the event, as well as the king of the mountains jersey, with Slovak Peter Sagan first in the sprint classification, while Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the white jersey for best young rider.

Also concluding over the weekend was the cricket in England. England smashed Australia into tiny little pieces in two-and-a-half days in the third test and now lead the Ashes series 2-1. As Australia holds the Ashes, they only need to draw the series to retain the urn.

Australia’s performance was beyond woeful, although with English pace spearhead Jimmy Anderson injured and both teams looking fragile, how the final two tests will go is anyone's guess. The form of captain Michael Clarke remains of most concern for the tourists, with him admitting to being a passenger so far this series.

On the upside for Australian sport, tennis star Samantha Stosur won an ATP tournament the weekend before last, showing a welcome return to form. On the same weekend, tennis wild child Bernard Tomic successfully defended his title in the Bogota Open tournament in Colombia. To cap off a great weekend for Australian sport, Australian golfer Jason Day was victorious in the prestigious Canadian Open golf tournament on the U.S. PGA tour.

And, unhappy as the bulk of the column has been, these three victories for Australian sports people lead us to the best news of all.

Adam Goodes has told Swans’ coach John Longmire he will be returning to training on Tuesday and will play against the Geelong Cats on Saturday.

Why this is such good news was highlighted by the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy, who made this point while writing recently:

What does it say about the country if this weekend Bronwyn Bishop is still in her job and Adam Goodes is not?’

Bronwyn Bishop, hopelessly biased speaker of Federal Parliament, has of course been embroiled in an expense scandal highlighted by a chopper flight from Melbourne to Geelong.

Well, thankfully for our country, as I write this Monday evening, we have the opposite situation — Bronwyn Bishop has resigned and Adam Goodes will be back on the field this Saturday.

So if everything is not exactly all right with the worlds of Australian politics and Australian sport, at least events involving Goodes and Bishop show we are moving in the right direction again.

Lachlan Barker blogs at cyclonecharlie88.blogspot.com.au and you can follow him on Twitter @CycloneCharlie8.

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