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AFL racism: Australian footy faces same problem 30 years on


On a sunny afternoon in Melbourne 30 years ago, Aussie Rules footballer Nicky Winmar defiantly stared down a bitter crowd hurling racist slurs, spit and drink cans at him.

Lifting his shirt, the Aboriginal man pointed at his skin and shouted at them: "I'm black, and I'm proud to be black."

That Saturday afternoon at Victoria Park would go down in Australian sporting history. Many hoped it would change the Australian Football League (AFL), which had been turning a blind eye to rampant racism.

But fast forward three decades and the league has again found itself at the centre of a racism storm.

In a full circle moment last month, Aboriginal player Jamarra Ugle-Hagan recreated Mr Winmar's iconic gesture, days after he too was racially vilified by a match spectator and subjected to a torrent of online hate.

The AFL's efforts to mark the 30th anniversary of Mr Winmar's stance have also been overshadowed this week after four Indigenous players reported receiving racist comments online.


Such abuse is just the latest in a long list of racism scandals which have plagued the AFL - raising questions about the sport's culture.

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