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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Eddie McGuire: Give the guy a break, or an inexcusable gaffe? Adam Goodes, AFL and the racism debate

The topic which is being hotly debated today - and for the past few days - is the issue of racism, the AFL, Adam Goodes, Eddie McGuire and the 13 year old girl who called Adam an "ape" (gosh, that is grating to even repeat).

While I have been following the story since it began - I found myself aghast watching the powerful footage of Adam pointing out the girl at the game, subsequently having her removed from the game - the happenings of the past 24 hours are pretty hard to ignore.

A piece in Radio Today says we should leave Eddie alone. The writer, Brad March, a former CEO at the Austereo Network - says:

"With 24 hour news coverage on television and cable plus the internet delivering constant updates via news sites, search engines, Twitter, Facebook and other social media these 'gaffes' take on a life of their own and can get blown out of proportion.

"I'm sure there was no malicious 'intention' to hurt or harm anyone in both of these cases.

Anyway under the circumstances - well handled Ed."

You have to agree (well, you don't have to) that Eddie has gone to great lengths to apologise. What he said was absurd and uncalled for and yes, a racist comment. But is he a racist person? Is this a consistent 'thing' for him? He is said to have been heavily involved in raising awareness around the indigenous community in the past, and at the press conference he called yesterday, Eddie said it was a ''slip of a tongue'' and ''it burns me to the core''. He said he understood if indigenous players questioned his view on equality, but said this had been a ''hallmark of his presidency'' and it was ''a cause that I live for''.

''I am not a racist and because I have done a lot of things in the past and I will continue to fight for the cause of equality in Australia,'' he said.

In regards to calls for his resignation, he said: ''People don't resign because they make a slip of the tongue. It's as simple as that. If I stood up because I was racially vilifying somebody, not only should I be resigning, I should be sacked. I let myself down because I had a slip of the tongue. It was as simple as that but the ramifications are greater than that," added Eddie, who had spent Tuesday night at an indigenous-related event.

What upsets me most of all in this entire incident is how Adam is feeling right now. The talented, much-awarded and lauded AFL player has been subjected to insults galore in the past few days. Imagine how he is feeling? Intended or not, these insults hurt, and I don't believe any of us have the right to tell him how he should be feeling (comments like 'harden up' annoy me no end).

Another thing that upsets me - and I really examined the footage last night - is that the young girl who sparked this racial controversy in the first place was shown to be yelling out "ape" straight after her grandmother (sitting next to her) yells something out to Adam. What kind of example is this? She is a 13 year old child; a teen by defintion, but so obviously young in understanding protocol  and manners and basic etiquette. And so, she'll simply copy what she sees.

As the girl is escorted away, she throws her blanket on top of her grandma's head and leaves with security. At the risk of sounding like an oldie... geez, have some respect for those around you, girl!

What do you think of the whole thing?

Feel free to comment below.

Here are some news and radio clips:

Photo: abc.net.au

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