The Sydney Swans have announced Brownlow medallist and co-captain Adam Goodes will take a break from AFL following an onslaught of booing by rival fans.
The time off comes after an Eagles supporter allegedly told Goodes to “get back to the zoo” during Sunday’s match against the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco.
The fan, who refused to be named, says the comment wasn’t racist, just “off-the-cuff banter”.
He and another man were ejected from the stadium after another spectator overheard the slur and reported it. The man described the response as “political correctness gone mad”.
Tensions heightened when Lewis Jetta re-enacted Goodes’ war dance in support of his teammate, after kicking a goal in his side’s loss to the Eagles.
“He’s a superstar of the game, a superstar for the Swans, fans should show more respect for what he’s done for the game,” Jetta told The ABC. “All this booing stuff needs to be thrown out the window.”
Today Swans coach John Longmire said Goodes’ wellbeing was the priority of the team and that he was no certainty to take on the Adelaide this coming weekend.
“This is clearly an issue that he’s concerned about and is sick of, and needed a couple of days (off),” Longmire said.
“He’s a very, very strong individual and he’s able to go about his business on a week to week basis. Sometimes though, we can assume that it doesn’t hurt, and it does.”
Longmire: It has got to a point where it is not going away and we need to stop it.
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) July 28, 2015
Since the weekend’s incident Goodes has said he had appreciated everyone’s support for what has been “a continual battle”.
“It’s disappointing,” he said, “I’m coming towards the end of my career and if I leave the game this year and that’s the aftermath of my career then I’ll be really disappointed with that.”
In 2013, Goodes made national and international headlines, when he took a stand against racism at a Sydney versus Collingwood AFL match where he was called “an ape” by a rival teenage fan.
Upon hearing the racist slur, Goodes stopped play to point out the girl to security staff, who was then escorted from the stadium.
Goodes refused to blame the 13-year-old for her actions.
“Racism had a face last night and it was a 13-year-old girl – but it’s not her fault.
“It just hit me – it’s not a Collingwood issue, it’s not an AFL issue, it’s a society issue,” Goodes told the media following the incident.
The footballer continues with several Indigenous sport and community programs, as well as spending time working with troubled youth.
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