Last night ABC’s The Drum exposed the lies being peddled by commentators Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine regarding Adam Goodes’ response to being called an ‘ape’ by a 13 year old girl at a football game in 2013.
Jones, Bolt and Devine have painted Adam as the villain and the girl as the victim. In an Orwellian reinvention of history, they say that Goodes vilified the girl by objecting to her taunt and pointing her out to officials. Security staff removed her from her seat. They detained her for some hours afterwards, initially without an adult guardian present. Needless-to-say Adam had no involvement once security staff took over.
The girl clearly intended to abuse Adam – no one calls someone an ape as a compliment. If any of my kids at 13 or any age had hurled abuse at a sports player during a match, even without racial overtones, I would have marched them out of the ground myself. I don’t accept children swearing or abusing people based on their physical characteristics. I’m sure in any other circumstances Jones, Bolt and Devine would wholeheartedly agree.
The girl said she didn’t know it was a racist slur. Adam took her at her word. The next day he held a lengthy press conference when he was asked about the incident. He was compassionate and generous towards the girl, said she was just a child and didn’t understand the hurt she had caused him, or would cause any Aboriginal man, with that insult. He spoke to her and explained. She apologised. Her mother recently said the girl is doing fine, although still unhappy with the way security guards treated her.
Jones, Bolt and Devine chose to quote a few words from that press conference, cutting off Adam’s words mid sentence, in an attempt to paint him as an adult in a position of power bullying a 13 year old girl. If you watch or read what he actually said it’s clear this is a nonsense.
Last night The Drum played the press conference in full and everyone should watch it - in full. It's the most valuable 2 minutes anyone can spend engaged on this issue. Watch the press conference here. Read the transcript here.
In a sad irony the 2013 match was part of the Indigenous Round in AFL – where Aussie Rules celebrates the contribution of Indigenous Australians to the game and the country. And today we face one of Australia’s greatest Indigenous footballers calling time on his career prematurely and leaving the game to the taunts and abuse of people in positions of privilege and influence who should know better.