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Why Adam Goodes was the voice that we all needed.

A different look into the documentary ‘The Final Quarter’

Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes received and is still receiving so many opinions about his actions in his final years in AFL football. Sweeping statements were made about his character, his actions and intentions. His actions were called violent, over the top and he was ridiculed for every move he made. So, I’m not highlighting the controversy that surrounded his final years, but I am highlighting his comments, his composure and the strength that he carried throughout that demeaning time. The below quotes are taken directly from the documentary ‘The Final Quarter’.

Mike Sheahan:

Is the game doing enough to cater to indigenous players?
AG: Yeah, I think so, we’ve got more opportunities than ever, I think the clubs becoming more culturally aware of its indigenous players…

[on whether racism is almost eradicated]

“almost isn’t good enough, it definitely hasn’t, and look, it’s something that I’ve grown up with, it happened in junior ranks, it happened at high school, it happens when you walk around the streets in your community it happens when you are going down to the shops to buy some milk to have breakfast but here, you’ve finally made it, you’ve done good for yourself you’ve made it to the AFL and it happens again and you just think, when is this ever going to end”

[on Nicki Winmar]

“Once I started playing footy, and started to establish myself in the game I realised and it was just one of those statements that really made me think, you know what, that I should be proud of my heritage, my culture and proud of who I am”

During the 2013 Indigenous round Adam Goodes was called an ape by a young Collingwood supporter, he pointed her out to security, the next day, this is what he had to say.

“yeah look, I’m pretty gutted to be honest, ah, the win, um the first of its kind in 13 years, to win by 37 points against Collingwood, to play such a pivotal role and it just means nothing, to come to the boundary line and to get a 13 year old girl call me an ape, um and its not the first time on the footy field, I have been referred to as a monkey or an ape, it was, it was shattering, racism had a face last night, and it was a 13 year old girl, but it’s not her fault, she’s 13 she’s still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her unfortunately its what she hears, the environment that she’s grown up in..”
“I felt like I was in high school again, being bullied, being called all of these names because of my appearance, and I didn’t stand up for myself in high school, but I am a lot more confident, I am a lot more proud about who I am and of my culture and I decided to stand up last night and I will continue to stand up”

During the time that Adam was under considerable pressure to maintain his composure in the heat of abuse he becomes an ambassador for the ‘Racism, it stops with me’campaign. The comments have to be disabled because of all the racism that was being posted. Collingwood President Eddie Mcguire suggests Adam Goodes should play King Kong, adding more hatred and attention to the growing racism bandwagon. Mcguire later apologised for this statement.

Adam Goodes was awarded Australian of the year, he was asked his thoughts on Australia day/survival day/invasion day.

“For me it has been a journey up until this point, so there was a lot of anger and sorrow for this day and very much the feeling of invasion day, but over the last 5 years you know, I have really changed my perception of Australia day and what it is to be Australian, for me its about celebrating the positives, you know we are still here as indigenous people, our culture is one of the longest surviving cultures in the world over 40,000 years (now we know its over 60,000 years) that is something that we need to celebrate and all Australians need to celebrate it if there are people out there thinking it is a great day for Australia well it is, we have to celebrate over 225 years of European settlement and that’s who we are, right now that’s who we are as a nation, but we also need to acknowledge our fantastic history, our Aboriginal history of over 40,000 years and just know that some aboriginal people out there today are feeling a little bit angry, are feeling a little bit soft in the heart because of that and that’s ok as well.”

He released the ‘Recognise’ campaign which highlights the fact that the first nations people aren’t recognised in the constitution.
[on the constitution] “There is nothing in the constitution right now, not a single word that mentions that anyone was here in 1788, so we need to acknowledge that simple fact and include the first Australians in the constitution at long last”

A pivotal moment in AFL, when Essendon supporters point out another Essendon supporter for racist slanders against Adam Goodes during a game.

“It is disappointing, and its not a comfortable thing to talk about and it’s definitely not a comfortable to go through so yeah its going to cause a stir and its going to cause people to have conversations about it but lets talk about it..”

Goodes played in the 2014 Grand final and was noticeably booed the entire game.
[Adam on being repeatedly booed whilst playing football]

“It’s not something that I’m not used to, there’s been plenty of time I’ve been booed at football grounds, sometimes it’s a mark of respect that the opposition fans don’t want you to play well”

[How racist is Australia]

“There is so many like minded people like yourself and mine in this country, I would hate to put a figure or say this much but the history of our country is built on so much lies and racial policies and things that have suppressed my people and lots of minorities in this country the way I see it is I can use my position to educate people to see-through the things they have been taught growing up and for them to open their minds and think oh actually that isn’t true, captain cook didn’t found Australia as I was taught in high school ..”

In 2015 during the Indigenous round Adam celebrated a goal with a war dance, after the game Mathew Richardson (former Richmond captain) questioned Adam about the celebration.

“Just a little bit of inspiration from the under 16’s Boomerang kids who taught us a little bit of a war cry so just a little tribute to those guys… Indigenous round, proud to be representing”

The next day, he was asked further questions about the celebratory dance “From my point of view, my team mates loved it, the Carlton players loved it, it’s not something they need to be getting their backs up against the wall about, is this the lesson we want to teach our children, that when we don’t understand something we get angry, we put our backs up against the wall – oh that’s offensive, no,

if it’s something we don’t understand, let’s have a conversation, what was Goodesy doing?.. if we are telling our people out there you can’t represent your culture or represent where you come from, in a round that is specifically about acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people what are we saying?”

Goodes, only had 11 free kicks in the year – ranker 168 on the list for free kicks – people saying they are booing him for his ‘free kicks’
[After continued booing]

“It’s just a continual battle at the moment, and it’s frustrating… just to have all that bad energy targeted towards me and its just disappointing, you know I’m coming towards the end of my career and if I leave the game this year and that is the aftermath of what’s happened at the end of my career, I’d be really disappointed with that”

Adam Goodes was booed until the final siren of his last game. He refused his victory lap at the 2015 Grand Final.

Since this time Adam Goodes (along with Michael O’Loughlin) have founded the organisation ‘Go Foundation’ this foundation creates opportunities for Indigenous youth through education.

Adam Goodes showed tremendous courage in the face of pure cruelty. The way that he held himself during this difficult time is extremely admirable and vital in the cultural awareness cause. He spoke clearly, knowledgeably and vulnerably in order to educate people and for this we are so thankful.
Goodesy, brother, uncle, we owe you for your strength and your courage during that hard time and for the continued work you have done for our people since. I thank you for all you have done in the name of reconciliation.
You can watch the documentary here

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