You know its footy season in Melbourne when……

…at the end of the off ramp outside the Richmond Railway station a small, animated man, decked out head to toe in the instantly recognisable red and black colours of his team rapidly approaches.

And as he propels himself past you, you dressed in the unmistakeable navy blue strip of your team, this deliriously happy Bombers fan lets fly with ….”eat sh*t you f***ing c***s”…..

No explanation was required – the essence of the wheelchair wordsmith’s message was abundantly clear. Nor was any personal offence taken by we three Canberrans wearing the “offending” apparel of the “blue baggers”, who had just suffered an humiliating defeat at the nearby MCG, bringing to an end four long seasons of horror for the Red and Black brigade. Only momentarily stunned, we quickly recovered and pissed ourselves laughing once the spray from the colourful gobfull had subsided. Unexpected, but after all to be expected in Melbourne in the shadow of the MCG late in Winter.

Of course people in wheelchairs are perfectly entitled to get excited when their football team wins, particularly when that team has been to hell and back. Of course wheelchair bound people have a perfect right to heckle rival fans outside the Richmond Railway Station and any place they so desire. But when “eat sh*t you f***ing c***s” is hurled in your direction at close range and the giver of the “directive” is a disabled person, apparently you just have to wear it. There appears to be no choice but to wear it.

Abuse of this nature from an able bodied person in the same location and under similar circumstances would almost certainly be returned with interest and potentially end up in a “blue”. And if there’d been a member of the constabulary nearby there may have been an “awkward” situation. Not to mention the women and children among the scores of fans streaming away from the “G”.

The abuse wasn’t aimed at our weight, skin colour, sexuality or age, but rather our football team and therefore, in some circles of society, more than likely considered far less offensive.

A Google search of ‘how to respond to strong abuse from a disabled person in a public space’, returns virtually nothing.



By Mike welsh

ADAM GOODES PICThe boo-ing saga swirling around Sydney Swans superstar Adam Goodes has the potential of spinning totally out of control. Spinning is what the AFLdoes with ease. It is as good a PR “spinner” of issues as there is anywhere in the elite sporting map.
Losing control, however, is something the AFL is not accustomed to.

But, as with many sensitive contemporary social issues, The code needs to
dexterously negotiate around this minefield which is growing larger by the
week. The main danger comes from within, The AFL cannot be perceived by
the fans to be tip toeing around the Goodes issue.

Sporting fans are by their very nature loud and vocal. They WILL shout,
they WILL scream, they WILL rant, and they WILL rave. They will laugh and
cry and they WILL boo too. The fans, racist or not, remain extremely vocal
on this issue.

As they should, after all it is the fans who power the game. They pay the
money to see the superstars who provide the entertainment. How do you
silence even a small section of footy fans when they feel such an
ownership? If one player, a superstar to boot, who has more than once
ripped your team a new one, gives you a reason to hate (and boo) then
you’ll join in the hate and the booing.

Obviously the talk of the plans of Swans’ supporters staging some type of
protest is only going to exacerbate the problem. But there’s an irony
here. Goodes must wear some responsibility for inflaming the issue with a
post goal war-dance directed at Carlton fans several weeks ago. Other AFL
players who give as much as the middle finger to fans often face a

But not Goodes.

If the most decorated indigenous AFL player quits the game, it leaves the
issue dangling. Out there for all to see. The AFL doesn’t have an easy
scapegoat here. No 13-year-old girl who foolishly mouthed a racist tag she
didn’t really understand. Nobody to shame. No-one to crucify.

Politically, a corporate aspect all AFL clubs, (including Collingwood
whose President Eddie McGuire has a controversial history with Goodes),
must be seen to be active on the issue. The Geelong FC (which meets the
Swans in two weeks) has deemed it necessary to advise the Swans it would
do all it could to prevent fans from booing Goodes at Shell Stadium.

Adam Goodes, with his unskilful commenting on, and reacting to racism is
only making life more difficult for the AFL. The code, who in the past has
done so much to eradicate the ugly spectre of racism. Be it coming down
heavily on Collingwood ruckman Damien Monkhorst after he racially abused
Essendon’s Michael Long, or the more recent implementation of the highly
successful Indigenous round of matches, both synonymous with the code’s

The code who has to now extinguish the blaze which has been partially
fanned by Goodes. While you may not hear anyone from the AFL admit Goodes
may have had a negative impact on the mess, with Adam Goodes now deciding
against playing this weekend, the AFL must get this one right and right