MODEL CITIZEN: 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE / MICK TSIKAS
MODEL CITIZEN: 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE / MICK TSIKAS

OPINION: Goodes' War cry divides opinion

THIS week the NSW parliament officially labelled Eddie McGuire as a 'boofhead' for his part in the backlash surrounding Adam Goodes' controversial "war cry" goal celebration in the AFL's Indigenous Round opener last Friday.

The incident clearly divided opinion, McGuire merely part of a chorus of commentators to make apparent misjudgments in their assessment of the celebration's place in our society while social media reached fever pitch as polarised opinions rose to the surface.

MORE: Parliament makes Eddie McGuire's 'boofhead' status official

On Wednesday, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham put forward a motion in the NSW upper house which declared support for Goodes' actions while it condemned McGuire for "his comments that 'this is a made-up dance, this is not something that has been going on for years'," and for "being a continual boofhead".

The Legislative Council passed the motion.

Mr Buckingham said the upper house had "recognised that Adam Goodes is a sensational footballer, a great Australian and a mentor to many, and supported his cultural expression in celebrating a great goal".

"I'm glad the NSW Upper House has officially condemned Mr McGuire for being a 'continual boofhead'," Mr Buckingham said.

 

OPINION: The DEX sports editor, Bill North:

I WAS shocked so many Australians found Adam Goodes' goal celebration offensive.

I didn't watch it live so after I heard the hype and observed the social media furore first, I braced myself before viewing this 'treacherous' dance.

But there was no act of menace. The gesture should be applauded - as we applaud the Haka, or Greg Inglis' goanna totem celebration.

The 2014 Australian of the Year recognised his culture in the opening game of Indigenous Round in a most appropriate way.

As Goodes said afterwards: "I was representing our people and passion and dance is a big way we do that."

Eddie McGuire obviously didn't go to the same school I did. If he took a trip to Western NSW - and of course the Clarence Valley - he would be forced to eat the stupidity of his words "this is a made-up dance, this is not something that has been going on for years".

Luckily enough people in NSW Government had the sense to officially brand him a "boofhead".

Sadly, the social media backlash indicates that Australians have regressed on their stance towards racism. We are becoming more and more ignorant. Less tolerant.

To target Goodes for his little traditional dance is akin to 15 years ago when people got upset because Cathy Freeman lapped the Olympic stadium in a spacesuit draped in the Australian AND Aboriginal flags.

 

OPINION: The DEX reporter, Matthew Elkerton:

ADAM Goodes is an inspirational, determined and successful former Australian of the Year.

Oh, and he is indigenous.

That is the giant elephant in the room, is it not?

Over my many years of watching all sports there have been many times when I have seen players, spectators and officials make a movement that respects their culture.

The haka is the most notable and most often used one that has become a great spectacle of sport.

In the post-match press conference Goodes explained that he had performed the dance as an homage to the kids of the Under 16 Flying Boomerangs side who had taught it to him.

Unfortunately for Goodes the explanation came too late and he was already on the hit list of many, including right-wing columnist and television presenter Andrew Bolt.

Thankfully the old heads of the AFL defended one of their most notable players, but, unfortunately, not all of them.

Dermott Brereton, with the wisdom and authority of a man who sat in a Year 8 history lesson, said, "To actually run at somebody in a war dance... it actually signifies 'I want to be violent against you'. I didn't like it. No good could come from it."

Yes, Dermo, no good at all. Surely not a man paying respect to his culture on the national stage, or a group of kids affirmed by their hero, or racists being put in their place. Yes, no good at all.



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