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AFL chief’s plea to fans on racism

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has revealed the “visible stress” Kozzy Pickett experienced after the Demons star was subject to a racist slur this week, with AFL chief Gillon McLachlan imploring the public at large to think about the effects their words could have before posting on social media.

After Adelaide’s Taylor Walker was hit with a six-match suspension and $20,000 fine for a racial slur about North Adelaide player Robbie Young, McLachlan said the league was looking at its frameworks to deal with the scourge of racism.

He said the review included both prevention and response, including the possibility of an accreditation system for club and league personnel on issues of race education.

Taylor Walker prepares to lead the Crows out.

Taylor Walker prepares to lead the Crows out.Credit:AFL Media

“[We are having] ongoing discussions about accountabilities. The conversation is around – there can be sanctions and fines – but how do we get people to understand that hurt that is being caused across the whole game?” McLachlan said.

“And how do we have a path for them that beyond the accountabilities, says they’re not coming back until there is genuine contrition, remorse, learning and understanding of that hurt?


“Maybe those accountabilities need to look different and we can flip that on its head and we can talk about actually an acceptance and a different approach. Because the debate about ‘too light, not right, not enough’ is different from the debate I’m having with others about the understanding of the hurt and the pathway back for players and individuals to be able to continue on in our industry.”

Second-year Melbourne player Pickett was subjected to a racist slur on social media this week, and while McLachlan said the league had been dealing with social media companies about making trolls accountable, he ultimately implored people to treat others as they would wish to be treated.

“If someone who goes and does this, if you understand how you would feel if you were your parents or your brother or your sister or your children was being wounded by something, and if you put that lens on when you go to type something racist or that vilifies someone, and if you have that lens, maybe you’ll pause.

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