By Ellie Grounds
Women’s team the Coolangatta Bluebirds have proudly become the latest AFL players to pledge their support for the “Racism. It Stops With Me” campaign.
Bluebirds players Katie Patison, Marnee Silver and Andrea Roberts, and coach Lauren James visited Metricon Stadium last month to support the movement aiming to abolish racism and promote acceptance throughout the game, an issue close to their hearts.
“As a team we are committed to supporting issues that will negatively affect people on and off the field. Our aim is to ensure AFL is a fun and enjoyable sport for everyone,” they said.
Gold Coast Suns players Tom Murphy, Jack Hutchins and Jarred Brennan also gathered at their home ground to shoot an ad for the campaign headed by the Multicultural Development Association, an independent, non-government organisation that actively promotes multiculturalism and works intensively settling refugees throughout Queensland.
Players were invited to fill out “a card against racism”, outlining their personal commitment to the campaign.
Among other things, the Bluebirds promised to “encourage acceptance of all cultures on and off the field”, “challenge racist comments even from my friends” and “never ignore racism and stand up for our equals”.
Local AFL teams from the Gold Coast were invited to attend, but the Bluebirds were the only team that had girls available to attend, an achievement they are extremely proud of.
“Although we love to play AFL, our girls are encouraged to participate in events that address pressing issues that affect the sporting community,” they said.
The Bluebirds reached out to Coolangatta fans to support the initiative, posting an enthusiastic message on Facebook:
“RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN OUR GAME!”
Today Bluebirds unite with Gold Coast Suns players Jack Hutchins and Tom Murphy at Metricon Stadium in a pledge to stand against racism on and off the field! The campaign encourages footy fans to celebrate and respect the diversity of people playing football at all levels! We as a team and club believe that racism on and off the field is unacceptable!!
“It stops with me”
The upcoming ad will also feature pledges from Brisbane Lions players.
The “Racism. It Stops With Me” initiative has garnered a lot of support from the AFL community, spearheaded by the heavy involvement of Sydney Swans player and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes in the campaign.