A great day and a good game between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar in Mudgee was soured thanks to one racist spectator.
A Wanderers fan hurled abuse at Roar ‘keeper Jamie Young, calling him a ‘monkey’. Young rightly took offence and called the behaviour out.
The reaction from all corners of the Australian football community has been outstanding so far. The fan was removed from the stadium with the comment brought to the attention of security by other Western Sydney fans in the vicinity.
The Wanderers came out with a strongly worded statement, condemning the behaviour and labelling it deplorable and unacceptable.
Brisbane made a similarly strong statement condemning the man’s actions, throwing its support behind Young and thanking the Wanderers for how they handled the situation.
But the most impressive reaction to this incident was from Young himself. He has spoken about dealing with racism previously and after hearing and reading about how he conducts himself on and off the pitch, it is no surprise to see that he has responded in the way that he has.
While it is unfortunate that he has to deal with this at all, he has handled himself with class and his suggestion that education be a part of the way the football community deals with this incident speaks volumes.
While FFA has yet to describe what kind of punishment, if any, the man will receive, it is hoped that this can be used as a teaching moment – one that comes not only with Young’s blessing but his active encouragement – rather than just a straight up case of banning a fan and shutting the door.
The game has an opportunity to fulfil its responsibility to not just condemn racism but potentially help stamp it out and it’s an opportunity which should be taken.