Sydney Swans champion Adam Goodes will not play in this weekend's clash with Adelaide at the SCG with reports suggesting he is considering retiring from the game following the continuous taunting from rival fans.
Taking a stand
Two-time Brownlow medallist Goodes, an Indigenous Australian, is said to have been targeted by fans for being vocal on indigenous issues.
During last Sunday's game at Perth's Subioco Oval, a rival fan was removed for allegedly telling Goodes to "get back to the zoo". It follows an incident in 2013 when Goodes pointed out and had removed a 13-year-old Collingwood fan who had called the star an 'ape' as he celebrated a goal at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
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AFL chief executive Gillon Mclachlan has said:
"Racism has no place in our game, and while I respect that people may have different views as to what is happening to Adam, it is impossible to separate the issue from the issue of race."
Swans team mate Lewis Jetta showed his support for Goodes last Sunday, responding to crowd to crowd jeers by performing an indigenous spear-throwing war cry after scoring a goal. Goodes had performed his own version of the war cry two months previously during the AFL's indigenous round, which was received negatively by sections of the fans and media.
Speaking about the reaction Goodes said he was surprised by the negativity. He said:
"I haven't had an opportunity to show that passion, and that pride about being a warrior and representing my people and where I come from.
"For everybody else, take a chill pill, understand what I was doing. Is this the lesson we want to teach our children that when we don't understand something we get angry and we put our back up against the wall [and say] 'Oh that's offensive?' No. If it's something we don't understand, let's have a conversation."
Leading AFL players have this week gathered to discuss ways of showing support for Goodes this weekend including the likes of Collingwood superstar Scott Pendlebury, Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell and Richmond forward Jack Riedwoldt.
Carlton's Sam Docherty said on the subject:
"Whatever the intention of the booing was to begin with, whether they (fans) didn't like him as a player, I'd love to see it stop.
"He's a champion of our game, he's won a couple of Brownlows, he's played in premierships and over 300 games...I just don't think that's a way we want to see out one of our stars."
No decision has yet been made on a way to support Goodes, named 2014 Australian of the Year, although a show of unity is expected for the round 18 fixtures.