20 July, 2024
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AFL players unsatisfied by racism response


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A new AFL Players’ Association report shows fewer than one in five players who have experienced racism believe their incident was appropriately dealt with.

The first ‘Insights and Impact Report’ canvassed 92 players from the 2021 playing group who identified as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or as a person of colour.

Almost one-third of those (29) said they had experienced racism while listed as an AFL player.

Fifteen of those said an incident had occurred within the past 12 months, with another 13 in the previous two to five years.

“Players reported the most common instances of racism as occurring on social media,” the report said.

“However, more concerning were reported incidences of vilification from people within the industry.”

Four players said they had been vilified by media, three by players or staff from other clubs, two by the AFL, two by teammates and one by club staff.

Thirteen players said they had been vilified by spectators at games.

The questions posed by the AFLPA were optional and some players who reported experiencing racism did not provide detail on the source.

Only 17 per cent of players who were vilified were “entirely satisfied” with the response to their matter.

Another 21 per cent were “somewhat or partially satisfied” and 62 per cent were not satisfied at all.

“This disappointing response highlights an area of future focus for the industry,” the report said.

The report stated 81 per cent of players are “entirely confident” they know how to recognise and react when they see or hear racism at their club or while playing AFL.

Another 17 per cent are “somewhat confident”.

“Despite these high levels of confidence, 57 per cent of players would welcome more support, tools and/or education to equip them in confidently responding to incidents of racism when they occur,” the report said.

As recommended in the report, the AFLPA will launch a Human Rights Framework and advocate for similar frameworks to be adopted by the AFL and clubs.

It was also recommended the industry review and refine its case management approach to individual vilification issues, as well as education and support tools for all players, industry stakeholders and broader football public.

The report was released on Thursday, with the AFL still in the process of setting up an investigation into historic racism allegations from some Indigenous Hawthorn players.


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