McLeod to spruik AFL racism policy to UN - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McLeod to spruik AFL racism policy to UN

Sam Lienert 24/01/2011 06:06:20 PM Comments (0)

Former Adelaide Crows star Andrew McLeod says the AFL's efforts to stamp out racism are the key to the huge rise in indigenous participation in the league during his career.

McLeod, who has joined the AFL as a community engagement and talent coordinator post-retirement, was speaking ahead of flying to Geneva to address a United Nations forum on racism in sport.

The proportion of indigenous players rose from four per cent when McLeod made his AFL debut in 1995 to 11 per cent when he retired last year.

The indigenous 340-game, dual Norm Smith Medallist, said it was no coincidence that increase followed the introduction of racial vilification policies in 1995.

"I think (indigenous players) are a lot more comfortable," McLeod said on Monday.

"When it got tough many years ago when (racism) was quite prevalent, the easiest thing to do was pack up and go home.

"Now they can come in and through the education system behind it, everybody knows where they stand.

"There's certainly none of that around at all.

"It's given an opportunity for guys to come into the system and be on a level playing field.

"It was something that the AFL might have been a little bit slow in developing, but certainly over the last 10 years or so it's become world's best practice when it comes to combatting racism."

McLeod said his UN talk would be about the AFL's policies, as well as the important role former indigenous AFL stars such as Michael Long and Nicky Winmar played in standing up to racism, which helped lead to a culture change in the code.

"Those acts certainly made it a lot easier for someone like myself coming into the system."

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