Feeling the heat: Adam Goodes racism furore highlights ‘ignorance’

Adam Goodes celebrates a goal during an AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at SCG in May. Picture: GETTY IMAGESMark Simon only remembers copping a racial taunt once on the footy field and the culprit apologised quick smart.
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But he understands why Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes is feeling the heat.

‘‘The negative comments affect people in different ways, some more than others,”the Port Kembla rugby league captain-coach said this week.

‘‘Things are said in the heat of battle, that happens they slip out, but it’s disappointing. It’s hard to say what’s happening to Adam right now is a racial thing, I think it’s just ignorance,’’ Simon said.

The National Parks Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Officer believes the Goodes controversy is ‘‘going overboard’’ and nobody should be criticised for being proud of their Aboriginal heritage.

Port Kembla rugby league captain-coach Mark Simon, with his son Taj, and other members of the Under 9 team he coached in 2013. Simon only remembers copping a racial taunt once on the footy field but understands why Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes is feeling the heat. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Goodes, a dual Brownlow medallist, is reportedly considering retiring from AFL after being subjected to a torrent of abuse this season.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has thrown his support behind the Swans legend and Australian of the Year, saying: ‘‘You should play – I’m confident Crows fans will treat you with respect this weekend and you’re welcome in SA anytime’’.

Simon, who comes from a family of rugby league stars – his brothers John and Craig played in the National Rugby League – said it was a shame Goodes performing an Aboriginal dance on the footy field could raise such controversy.

‘‘It’s unfortunate it takes something like this to get people talking,’’ he said. ‘‘To me it’s just being proud of your Aboriginal heritage.’’

‘‘New Zealand they have the Haka and the entire nation embraces that. It’s in the mainstream.

‘‘I suppose now someone like Adam with his personality, he’s seeing this as an opportunity to get our heritage out there.

‘‘We do have a strong cultural heritage and over the years a lot of its been lost.’’

Simon said Aboriginal people were just trying to get the message out to the general population.

‘‘Our culture has always been there. We just don’t pay enough attention.’’

Story from the Illawarra Mercury

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