In the past day, the AFL world heard that a report from the Collingwood FC is a damming take on their stance regarding racism. While it did not paint the club in a positive, significant way, the issue is not what the report states, but the way it has been handled in the media from the very man who has been at the helm of the club when most of the racism has purportedly taken place – Eddie McGuire. To state that he was proud of the club is a misuse of the meaning of that word. I am sure he is proud that the club initiated an independent review of its handling of racist accusations from an ex-player, but that is not the way it came across. He is being blasted on social media and the media generally. He has shown no remorse or contrition on how the club has handled racism issues, and he was their leader!
The report states, and yes I did read it, that the club was not proactive but rather latently reactive. This serves as a tremendous warning and opportunity for all clubs, and for this blog – Carlton. Racism is such a destructive and nasty element in our society and we, as fans, have a lot to do to eradicate it. We need to be proactive in calling out any racism towards not only players but supporters as well. There are those who either hide behind keyboards or at the games become so inebriated that it gives them cowardly courage to make racist taunts towards players and supporters.
We need to be proactive to ensure that Carlton FC has a rhetoric where players, admins and supporters know that they stand for equality and call out any form of racism. To some extent, they do this with their RESPECT initiative. While it is aimed at the insidiousness that is domestic violence, the message can also be used in this regard.
Their proud representation of Indigenous players and how they are treated and regarded in the club is something to be proud of. But the point is that it needs to go further, and the only way it can go further, if we, the supporters, embrace that word: RESPECT and stand against any form of violence, discrimination, including racism. We need to have our own rhetoric of ensuring that other supporters know what we stand for.
We cannot and must not allow the simpletons of this world to think that racism and any form of discrimination is acceptable behaviour, either perpetrated behind keyboards or in person. Racism has as its basis one of the vilest emotion – hate. It is easier to hate but takes so much more effort to accept and respect others and their differences: it makes our world much richer.
So my rhetoric in this is: I stand for equality and respect. I stand for accepting a person because of who they are, not what they are. I will stand against those that do not take responsibility for words and actions that demean and put down others because of what they are, not who they are. Call out and point the finger at those who believe that making racist comments is a joke.
Stand by what Carlton promote RESPECT!