Racism case beggars belief, says AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Racism case beggars belief, says AFL

By Roger Vaughan 27/06/2011 06:22:16 PM Comments (0)

AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson is right - this beggars belief.

Before each season, all AFL players are briefed on the league's strict racial and religious vilification policy.

It's a pretty clear policy and one the AFL takes very, very seriously.

Also, this year, there's been the uproar over a fan abusing Hawthorn star Lance Franklin at a game in Launceston.

Then only this month, a fan was banned from VFL matches for racially abusing North Melbourne's young Sudanese player Majak Daw.

Likewise, the Daw case received widespread media coverage.

In short, if you're an AFL player and you racially abuse an opponent, it's a safe bet you'll be torched for it.

The best that can be said for Western Bulldogs' player Justin Sherman is he quickly accepted responsibility for what he did.

Also, it's the first public case of racial abuse within the AFL in about a decade - so overall, the policy appears to be having the desired effect.

Sadly, the damage is done.

Through no fault of his own, the aggrieved player, understood to be Gold Coast youngster Joel Wilkinson, of Nigerian descent, is at the centre of a whole heap of unwanted publicity.

It's an ordinary postscript for your senior debut - normally one of the greatest moments in an AFL career.

The case is embarrassing for any club, but particularly for the Western Bulldogs, who have made a point of aligning themselves with the ethnic diversity in Melbourne's western suburbs.

Last October, Sherman said he "clearly" had a lot to learn when he apologised a day after publicly tipping a bucket on Brisbane, his previous club.

Justin, please - this time, learn your lesson.

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