NORTH Melbourne’s Sudanese-born rookie Majak Daw admitted he was hurt by the racist comments of a spectator while playing with the Werribee Tigers in a VFL match against Port Melbourne at TEAC Oval on Saturday.
”It definitely did [hurt]. I was pretty flat in the first quarter and that carried on throughout the day and [Saturday] night, but I’m feeling better now,” Daw told TAC Cup Future Stars.
”It’s good to see that a lot of people don’t accept what happened … it just shows it’s only a minority [that do].”
The matter is being investigated by AFL Victoria this week.
Veteran VFA and VFL broadcaster Phil Cleary believes the football community should look at the wider community and those at Federal level before condemning the offender.
Cleary was one of the first to broadcast the issue during the VFL clash live on ABCTV after talking to North Melbourne football manager Donald McDonald, who confirmed to Cleary that there had been references made from the offender about Daw’s skin colour.
Cleary said he believes the offender should be dealt with but believes he “is pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things”.
“Do we think there’s no racism in Australia? We’ve got to put into context. We’ve got politicians who are racist towards refugees. So what happens in football reminds us of the racist undercurrent,” Cleary said.
“All racists are ought to be dealt with but we’ve got to start with Federal parliament and those who demonise refugees.”
“Some punter on the terraces of Port Melbourne, he’s pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things. He realised after the event, the seriousness of the comment. He said it spontaneously and then when questioned realised the real significance of it.”
“We’ve just got to be vigilant. Of course that person needs to be spoken to but we shouldn’t think that there isn’t racism in Australia. We’ve just got to accept that there is and deal with it on all levels.”
“He needs a good talking to but there’s quite a few out there that are worse than him,” he said.
AFL Victoria said it expected that both the Port Melbourne and Werribee Tigers hierarchy will meet with them this week to discuss the appropriate penalty for the offender.
AFL Victoria general manager Grant Williams said: “We will continue to investigate the matter with the VFL clubs involved and will work with the Werribee and North Melbourne football clubs to ensure Majak is appropriately supported as a result of the incident.”
Cleary has also lodged a racist profiling complaint to AFL Victoria following the treatment of an investigation into a ground invasion during an under 16 junior match for West Coburg in the Essendon District Football League three weeks ago.
Cleary said the league investigator’s report said: ‘It is apparent to me that West Coburg has issues with some of its younger players and supporters. It is significant that almost all of the West Coburg players or supporters involved have a middle eastern background.’
“I made the point that there was no point for racial profiling in football. Nothing has come of that but it will because I’m not going to let it go,” Cleary said.
He has raised the issue with Williams.