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Guy Rundle on Adam Goodes and the 'industrial issue' of racism among AFL fans

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“Goodes isn’t being booed by the self-selecting group doing it because they believe themselves to be superior to him. They’re doing it because they know they aren’t, and the player-fanbase relationship has a strange and not always positive twist these days.”
Years ago, I seem to remember (or did I merely imagine it?) various quasi-unions and associations were conferring on amalgamating and then affiliating with the ACTU to create one big performers’ union. At its headiest, this was going to combine Equity, the actors’ mob, the writers guilds, and whatever union that covers party clowns and strippers … and the AFL players’ association. It was a delicious thought for a while. Those lithe ballet performers in their unstructured chaotic events called “Aussie rules” joining together with the actors, etc, etc.
That never came to anything, but it’s expressive of a truth about football — it’s an industrial activity, a onetime community activity that has since become an input product for mass media, the live crowds themselves now a mere add-on to the spectacle. Teams that were once grounded in the communities they lived in and could draw their players only from certain geographical areas are now brands, mere labels for whatever collection of players they build in each year.
That has not only changed the relationship between club and community, it has changed that between spectator and players. Players who once played on a Saturday and worked down the high street Monday to Friday are now separate people, superstars who live separate lives. That has given them lives that many could only envy — even if many stuff up those opportunities — but it also leaves them isolated, both from the fans and each other. Players have become commodities. That largely unspoken factor lies at the heart of the nasty, sad, depressing attacks on Adam Goodes, the reaction to them — and gives a clue about what needs to happen.
Read the full story at Crikey

2 responses to “Guy Rundle on Adam Goodes and the 'industrial issue' of racism among AFL fans

  1. Just don’t get in the way of the ‘group think’ media mob when they get on a self-righteous-roll of self hate and loathing.
    Pigeon hole everyone who doesn’t agree with you and ‘brand’ them as unworthy for merely trying to give some historical context involving long held views about certain behaviour which seemingly will never be discussed.
    Therein lies the context which doesn’t conform to the ‘agenda’ so must at all COST be ignored in our glorious frenzy.
    There is no such thing as a crowd attitude – in a crowd of 50,000 there are just as many attitudes and none should be pigeonholed.

  2. There was an interesting result of a question asked of supporters of AFL clubs in an attitudinal survey a few years back. I can’t quote it exactly, but it was something very like: “Do you believe Aboriginal culture is important to Australia?”.
    The results were instructive; the supporters of most clubs registered above the national average (that I recall was in the low/mid 70 per cents. Those with the highest positive response were the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle, both well into the eighties. The club with the lowest positive response, significantly below the national average, was West Coast. Go figure.
    I wonder what the result of other questions, like “Do you believe in Climate Change?” or “Do you support gay marriage?” or “Should we turn back the boats?” would be?
    Of course this is merely a surmise, but I’ve got a strong suspicion it would follow along very similar lines. This is an example not of “group think” so much as “think group”.
    Were West Coast supporters punishing Adam Goodes because they are opposed to gay marriage? I think they were.

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