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Goodes reiterates commitment to racism fight

ABC News logo ABC News 22/05/2014
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Adam Goodes accepts that his stature as Australian of the Year and his desire to be outspoken about indigenous rights make him a lightning rod for racist attacks.

The Sydney Swans great was racially abused by an Essendon fan during their AFL clash in Melbourne and, since then, has also been the victim of vicious online attacks.

Goodes was also routinely booed during the Essendon match, even though he had little impact on the contest and does not have a reputation as anything but a champion footballer.

Last year, Goodes took a stand against a young Collingwood supporter who vilified him, and subsequently, against Magpies president Eddie McGuire, who made a racial slur against him on radio.

Goodes' recognition as Australian of the Year has given him a platform to confront racism in a very public way, but it would appear to have come at a personal cost.

However, the 34-year-old has vowed to not back down in his role as an indigenous leader, even if that means he is subjected to further abuse.

"I actually feel I've been in training for this role, to be honest. When you play at a football club and you don't play well, you do get your head knocked off," Goodes said at a media conference at the SCG.

"It's not the first time I've had to go through something like this.

"Yeah, I'm putting my neck out there and, at times, people want to knock it off. But I'll continue putting my neck out there because there are so many good people out there who are supporting the messages, who want to see some changes."

Critics have taken exception to Goodes' front-foot approach to tackling discrimination, but the Swans' star says silence is not the answer.

"Unfortunately, for some of those people, silence makes their environment a little bit more comfortable," he said.

"It's not a comfortable thing to talk about; definitely it's not a comfortable thing to go through. It's going to cause a stir and it's going to cause people to have conversations, but let's talk about it.

"Once we talk about it, see what it's like, then we can self-regulate and say that's not right.

"Unfortunately, some people don't want to have those conversations - they might not be ready. But I'm definitely ready."

Goodes was on hand with his mother Lisa to unveil the Swans' jersey for indigenous round that she designed.

Rather than be discouraged by the latest racial attacks, Goodes says he is more encouraged by the way Bombers supporters stood up for what was right and dobbed in the offending individual.

Goodes says he would like to see that person welcomed back to AFL games in the future once he has undertaken education on indigenous rights.

Indigenous round, Goodes says, sends a positive message.

"I've obviously been standing up for what I believe in and - for Essendon supporters to call out their own supporters on behaviour they don't want to see at the football - shows we are moving in the right direction and they should be rewarded for their courageous decision."

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