Australia Football League: Indigenous Star Adam Goodes Set to Play on After Racism Controversy
Adam Goodes, an Australian Rules football star and a former Australian of the Year, ruled himself out of an AFL fixture last weekend, sparking fears he may call it quits after being the target of a barrage of boos throughout this season.
One of Australia's most high-profile indigenous sportsmen is set to play on, his coach said Monday, with Adam Goodes humbled by the support received after persistent booing of him was slammed as racist.
The Australian Rules football star, a former Australian of the Year, ruled himself out of an AFL fixture last weekend, sparking fears he may call it quits after being the target of a barrage of boos throughout this season.
"I spoke to Adam late yesterday afternoon and he's intending to come and train tomorrow and be available for selection this week," Sydney Swans coach John Longmire told reporters of the Aboriginal player.
"He was incredibly humbled by the support he received over the weekend.
"I don't think he had intentions to watch the (Swans) game, but he ended up watching the final three quarters and couldn't believe the amount of support that he had," he added.
"We as a football club are just incredibly grateful for the amount of support from the football community."
Australia's race discrimination commissioner last week warned the abuse of Goodes had gone beyond sport and become a blight on the country, and a campaign on social media, #IStandWithAdam, quickly gained support.
Australians posted messages of support and photographs of themselves with Goodes' playing number 37 on Twitter, in a campaign backed by Hollywood celebrities Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving.
On Saturday, a season-high crowd of almost 40,000 people at the Sydney Cricket Ground raised their voices in unison to cheer the absent Goodes in an emotionally charged game between the Swans and the Adelaide Crows.
The stadium was dotted with Aboriginal flags and fans wearing the number 37, while others raised homemade signs including "Love Goodes, racism bad" and "Adam Goodes! We applaud & respect you".
Swans players ran into the stadium through a massive banner emblazoned with the word "RESPECT" as the team's chairman Andrew Pridham slammed Goodes' critics in a pre-match speech.
Many believe the jeering was racially motivated and stemmed from Goodes taking exception to being called an ape by a young spectator at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2013.
The abuse intensified after he performed an Aboriginal war dance during a match in May.
Longmire said he expected Goodes, widely seen as one of the game's best-ever players, to be available for Saturday's away clash with Geelong.