Labrador took a stand on Saturday. A stand that went much further than the semi final they were playing.
They took a stand against family violence.
After the events of last week, where two women and a young girl were killed in South East Queensland, captain Ryan Davey felt a call to action.
“I was watching the news last week, before work on Friday, so it all happened pretty last minute,” Davey said.
“Seeing some of the events that had played out on the Gold Coast, and the wider issue that has been happening right across Australia, I thought that it’s important for other members of the community to do their part, and I saw Saturday’s game at Labrador as a real opportunity to do that.”
This isn’t the first time Davey has campaigned against this type of behaviour.
“It’s an area that I have been exposed to with my work with the SUNS, we have done some work with White Ribbon in the past, and I’m a White Ribbon ambassador,” he said.
It was the White Ribbon oath, the words that the foundation asks people to live by, that Davey wanted to get across.
“The oath is swearing to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women, and that’s the message we are trying to get out there as much as possible. It’s about not remaining silent; it’s about standing up and letting people know this isn’t acceptable,” Davey said.
A stance mirrored by the Labrador Football Club.
“We wanted to get across the message to the women involved in our respective football clubs, that what’s happening in society is not acceptable from our point of view,” Labrador Football Manager Jarrod Field said.
“We want them to feel safe and respected at all times, rather than under threat.”
What Labrador did when they took the field on Saturday would be much more powerful than their big win two hours later.
Both clubs, and some of their supporters wore white armbands in support of White Ribbon Australia, Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women.
Then, both teams lined up to observe a minutes silence before the game, bringing onto the ground with them all the mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters and supporters to join.
Davey said they lined up facing the crowd to prove that both clubs weren’t against each other in this moment, they, and the crowd, were in it together.
“My initial thoughts were, when you see ANZAC clashes, and you see moments of silence, we are standing off and facing off against the opposition, and I didn’t want it to become that,” Davey said.
“What I wanted it to try and become was that the two captains standing side by side, saying we are not facing off against each other, we are facing off against the issue, facing the crowd to let them know we are all in this together.
“Credit to Wilston Grange, they travelled a long way to get down to the game, and they responded really quickly to get numbers out there as well.”
Field summed it up perfectly in one sentence.
“It was a line of solidarity along the members wing,” he said.
If one person walked away from the event understanding the message, Davey said that it was worthwhile.
“It was really well received, and it made everyone take notice. Even one person talking about the campaign, or the fact that it is unacceptable is a big step forward,’ he said.
In a time where example setters are needed to put a stop to this violence, Labrador has stepped up.
Leaders on and off the field.
If you have experienced, or are at risk of family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), a 24-hour counseling line.
White Ribbon day is on November 25. You can put a stop to domestic violence by swearing the oath HERE.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles