I’m tired of reading about good blokes.
Mal Brown used the term “cannibals” when talking about indigenous Australians. But he’s a good bloke.
Andrew Johns supposedly called Greg Inglis a “black c-nt”. Yeah, but we all know ‘Joey’ is a good bloke.
And now comes a breaking story that former Hawthorn great Robert DiPierdomenico told an audience in South Australia that Gavin Wanganeen “wasn’t too bad for an Abo”. Dipper, of course, has always been considered a good bloke.
The funny thing is, maybe these guys are good blokes. And maybe none of them are racist.
But this is happening far too often in Australian sport and, frankly, it shouldn’t be that difficult to eradicate.
I mean, what would compel someone like Brown to say something like that at a luncheon? Does he really believe they are cannibals? Of course not. Does he think he’s at an ‘off-the-record’ function, where most of the crowd are white and will laugh at a little ‘Abo’ humour? Probably.
You see, that’s the problem. If Brown, commended by Back Page Lead editor Ashley Browne for his work with indigenous footballers, doesn’t understand what he’s done is wrong, than what hope do we have?
In case you didn’t know, I hail from the United States, probably the most politically correct place on the planet. Despite producing such un-PC comedians as Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks, the average American is held to a very high standard when it comes to racial comments. Sport is the same, and obviously, that makes even more sense when 70 or 80 per cent of your players are African-American.
But it wasn’t always this way. People, both black and white, had to take a stand and say enough was enough. There were some casualties along the way. Famous NFL football pundit and professional gambler Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder and Los Angeles Dodgers executive Al Campanis both lost their jobs after insensitive racial slurs. Both were reportedly great guys who weren’t racist. But they made mistakes and had to pay. Future generations learned from those errors.
And that’s where we are here in Australia. People have to take a stand. Not to be racially divisive, but to educate.
It’s just not appropriate to make jokes or snide comments about someone else’s race or religion. And no more excuses. No more ‘that’s what I grew up with’. No more ‘it’s generational’. No more ‘they knew I was joking’. And no more ‘but he’s a good bloke’.
Perhaps someone needs to lose a job, as brutal as that sounds, so that the next generation of Aussies will understand that any form of racial slur is completely and utterly out of bounds.
I know Australians have a great heritage of taking the mickey and laughing at the absurdities of life.
But life’s getting more complicated. And more culturally diverse. Like it or not, the times they are a-changin’.
*Back Page Lead is a sports opinion website that provides sports content to Crikey.