The AFL’s new seven-part docu-series, ‘Making Their Mark’, will address some of the racism faced by players when it releases next month.
The trailer for the Amazon Prime production dropped on Monday, in which Carlton player Eddie Betts spoke of how racism affects him and his loved ones.
“I want to play footy without being racially abused,” said the 34-year-old. “It hurts. It hurts myself, it hurts my family, and I’m sick of fighting.”
In June last year Betts called out racist abuse he received the same weekend AFL players showed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking the knee before playing.
Sharing a tweet which referenced him and included a photo of a monkey, Betts wrote on Instagram, “If at any time anyone is wondering why we work so hard to bring attention to the importance of stamping out racism, this is it.
“If ever there was a time where our focus on this needs to continue more than ever, it’s now. We each have a responsibility to ourselves and each other. To continue to listen. To learn. To educate.”
He added that “to ignore it is to be part of the problem, to call it out is to be part of the solution”.
In a subsequent interview with ‘Fox Footy’, Betts said he was “really angry” when he saw the tweet, and wanted to speak up because racism is part of his daily reality.
“I’ve got to set up barriers every day when I leave the house, thinking I’m going to get racially abused when I’m driving or when I go to a supermarket,” he said.
“All I want to do is rock up to training, play and enjoy the game of footy. I’m sick and tired of it, but I want the AFL to be a safe platform for young Aboriginal kids to come and enjoy and play footy without being racially abused.”
‘Making Their Mark’ also stars West Coast Eagles player Nic Naitanui, who has vocalised his experience with racism in the past, as well as Stuart Dew (Gold Coast Suns Senior Coach), Stephen Coniglio (Greater Western Sydney Giants
Captain), Eddie Betts (Carlton Football Club forward), Rory Sloane, (Adelaide Football Club Captain), and the Senior Leadership of the Richmond Football Club (Peggy O’Neal, Brendon Gale and Damien Hardwick).
Watch the trailer below:
The docu-series, slated for a March 12 release, comes after Eddie McGuire stepped down as Collingwood Football Club president last week following his disastrous comments as he described the release of a report on racism as “an historic and proud day” for the club.
Collingwood Football Club issued an apology penned by 150 of its footballers and netballers days before McGuire’s resignation after the ‘CFC Do Better’ report was leaked.
In the letter, players said they were “sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race”.
The report found evidence of “systemic racism” within the Magpies, and was prompted by former player Héritier Lumumba’s account of a “culture of racist jokes” at the club where he played 199 games from 2005-14.
In 2017, Lumumba went public with allegations teammates had nicknamed him “chimp” and said the club failed to support him and punished him for daring to speak out about McGuire’s 2013 “King Kong” slur at Adam Goodes.
Collingwood publicly denied Lumumba’s claims along with coach Nathan Buckley.
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