Sport, racism no mix
THAT racist epithets are still, even rarely, being hurled at Aboriginal players in Geelong footy leagues is a situation that needs to be stamped out.
Douglas Hill, 67, who shouted at Geelong Amateur player Baden Dodd that he was a “f---ing black c---” is probably just an idiot rather than a cardcarrying racist.
But that’s probably cold comfort to Mr Dodd, who likely felt his words like daggers.
Sport is the great equaliser. Even the worst racist will find their illogical beliefs being shaken by a display of elite athletic prowess by a member of a different race.
Adolf Hitler’s white supremacism was shown up when African American athlete Jesse Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, and won four gold medals.
Polly Farmer’s legacy still looms large in this city, not just for the displays of skill he turned on as an Aboriginal football player in the ’60s, but for the dignified life he led off the field.
Since Polly, this city, particularly recently, has embraced indigenous Cats players with the same ardour as the rest.
So it is sad that anyone is still throwing derogatory words about race around.
The silver lining of this story is not just that Douglas Hill sees the error of his ways and is unlikely to reoffend (unless he wants another $2500 fine), it’s that fans of both clubs — Torquay and the Ammos — tried to convince him to shut up.
And this is a much better answer than the blunt instrument of the state or the judiciary or hate crime laws being used. These things, rightly or wrongly, can make the aggressors feel like aggrieved victims and don’t give them room to change their behaviour.
“Pull your head in, mate,” said to a spectator being racist is a much better option.
None of us should tolerate ugly racial comments at any level of sport or any level of society. We often reminisce about the good old days but overt and casual racism is something we need to relegate to the bad old days.