The aim of the game


John Roskam wrote an excellent piece in yesterday’s Financial Review, on the issue of racism in Australia.

Roskam notes that “one of the things we’ve learned is that in Australia, the reaction of authorities to racism is selective.”Hyde Park, Sydney, 2012

Whilst sustained attention, and condemnation has been poured into the Adam Goodes saga, the same cannot be said in relation to other, perhaps more sinister and aggressive displays of hatred and racism.

Roskam notes that:

“At a protest march in Hyde Park in Sydney in 2012, children held up placards advocating the beheading of “infidels”. Interestingly, there’s no record of police detaining and interrogating any of those young people. Meanwhile, at anti-Israel rallies around the country, Jews are routinely subjected to epithets no less offensive than what was shouted at Goodes.”

This is really quite disturbing. Why has their been such a preoccupation with one supposed instance of racism when other, even more ugly forms of it go completely ignored by the authorities and the inner city ‘racism police’?

Roskam’s final issue relates to the politicisation of the AFL:

“It’s one thing for the AFL to support breast cancer awareness on Mother’s Day. But that’s something entirely different from the AFL endorsing a political campaign to change the Australian constitution and divide people according to their race. The AFL promoting the Recognise campaign is entirely different from the AFL stopping racial abuse on the football field. Andrew Demetriou, the former AFL boss, instituted a ‘Green’ round and he said clubs should be aware of the dangers of global warming.”

Is it the place for the AFL to adopt political causes in such a way? Roskam highlights that most of these political causes generally serve a left wing agenda and risk alienating half of the population. But really, should these political causes be played out in the AFL?

Whilst AFL players are seen as role models in the community, surely the aim of the game, well… should be the game. Not the re-engineering of society.

It’s your XYZ.