Eddie Betts saddened but not surprised by Hawks racism allegations

Eddie Betts has called on all AFL clubs to review their historical treatment of First Nations players amid the fresh racism furore that has engulfed the competition.

Key points:

  • Eddie Betts praised the bravery of First Nations players for coming forward with the racism allegations
  • The former Indigenous AFL star said the 17 other AFL clubs needed to conduct similar reviews to the one done by the Hawks
  • The AFL has announced an independent investigation into the allegations

Indigenous champion Betts said he was saddened but not surprised to learn of racism claims at Hawthorn, detailed in an independent report commissioned by the club and published by the ABC.

Betts said some of the allegations, which were described as “sickening” by the federal government, reminded him of the Stolen Generations.

They included one player alleging Hawthorn coaches told him and his partner to terminate a pregnancy and separate so the player could focus on football.

“This could happen at any football club,” Betts told Fox Footy on Wednesday night.

“And I think that every football club should do a review like this.

“Every football club should come out and do an external review, contact the Indigenous players and past Indigenous players and see how that footy club was.”

Betts, who has publicly detailed his own experiences with racism in the AFL system and life, praised the unnamed players’ bravery in speaking up as part of the Hawthorn review.

“It was a tough read, reading that today, but I wasn’t surprised, to be honest,” Betts said.

“Aboriginal people, we’re not surprised … [because] we face these issues in many systems — in the education system, in the justice system, in the health system.

“It always comes back to what I’ve been preaching a lot, and that’s education.”

Author: Ivan Robinson