Dear Adam Goodes: please don't go
AN OPEN LETTER TO ADAM GOODES
Adam, there's speculation you're considering retirement from Aussie Rules, following an inordinately long period of booing from people who claim to love the game and claim to not be racist.
But please don't go.
At least, not right now.
Don't let the end of your glorious career be marked by the frankly embarrassing display of poor sportsmanship - no, poor humanity - and the equally poor performances from high-profile people trying to explain why this behaviour is not racist when it so patently is.
Take some time out by all means, but while you're doing that try to listen to the chorus of supporters doing their best to drown out the booers and apologists for what is obviously still a national problem, as much as we might like to think it's not.
Think about Richmond wearing its Dreamtime guernsey this weekend in your honour.
Think about the many people who have publicly defended your absolute right to call out racism when you see it, to celebrate and be proud of your heritage, to unapologetically be who you are. A warrior.
Remember that for every person booing you and for every person defending that behaviour, there are hundreds who believe they're wrong.
And remember there are many of us wanting to thank you.
Thank you for giving Australians a beautiful thing to watch on the football field.
Thank you for holding your head up proudly your whole life, for setting a good example on and off the field (even if there are some who think your on-field tactics deserve to be booed - they don't).
Thank you for inspiring thousands of young footballers, black and white, with your talent and dignity.
Thank you for doing that war dance, and for making Australians feel uncomfortable about the vestiges of racism we still cling onto. We need to feel uncomfortable. It might actually make us do some serious navel-gazing about why a simple cultural, warrior gesture offended some of us so much.
Think about all of that, but please don't go now.
Give us the chance to redeem ourselves before you call it quits on a career to be proud of.
We owe you that at the very least.