'Emotional' Betts' powerful response to AFL scandal

1 month ago 14
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Carlton veteran and Indigenous star Eddie Betts has delivered a powerful plea amid a number of incidents involving racism within the AFL.

Betts' plea comes after a week which saw Adelaide Crows star forward Taylor Walker handed a six-match ban for a racial slur made during a SANFL contest last month. In recent weeks Port Adelaide defender Aliir Aliir, Saints star Bradley Hill and Richmond's Matty Parker were all subjected to racist attacks on social media.

The 34-year-old unfortunately is no stranger to racism having been at the centre of a number of vile attacks and has long been a voice behind the fight to stamp out racism within the AFL.

Betts appeared on Fox Footy's AFL 360 last night where he spoke about the emotional pain and hurt racism has caused him and other Indigenous stars throughout their careers.

"It's been hard, to be honest," he told AFL 360. "It's been really tough to deal with especially when it comes to racism. I've been dealing with this my whole life, my mother has, my father has, and it's tiring. It hurts, it's draining … it actually really hurts to be honest.

Eddie Betts (Getty)

"I'm starting to get emotional about it just talking about it here. Everything that's happened over the past 48 hours to the last week, it's been hard. I just need everyone to go on a journey and start educating and start those conversations. Taylor Walker's going on his journey at the moment and I know what kind of person Taylor Walker is and I know he'll keep to his word. He'll do this to 110 per cent.

"It just hurts. And you have to look at it, last night Kossie Pickett getting racially abused again over in Western Australia. I was racially abused last week and the week before – I don't know if you saw my story in The Age – it just keeps happening.

"I'm sick of it. I'm sick of fighting. It's draining. I've been on this show pouring my heart out begging, hoping Australia would listen and it's hard. We need to start having those conversations in the workplace, in the schooling. The only way we're going to work together is when we start educating ourselves.

"I can't do it, I can't, it's hard. And I need everyone, I need you guys, I need the people at home tonight watching this. You guys that are sitting at home on the couch, you guys are going to be the ones with the powerful voice here, you guys are going to be the ones to make change. Because I can't keep doing it.

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"You hear me speaking about it year after year after year and nothing's going to change, so it's up to you guys to make change. You guys on the couches, start having those conversations at home, start it with your friends and your family. Call out racism when you see it because there is no room for racism in Australia. And we as Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people are sick of fighting. We are. We're sick of fighting because it just keeps happening and happening and happening and I'm tired, I honestly am. I said to a lot of the Indigenous boys that it's getting to me.

"And I'll keep fighting no matter what, no matter how emotional I get, no matter how drained I am, I'll fight. I'll fight for my people, I'll fight for the next generation of young Aboriginal kids who come in to play AFL footy to make this a safe place for us to come and enjoy the game we love. I don't know how many times though that I've got to front up and talk about it, fight about it. We need the rest of Australia to stand up, to fight, to stamp it out, because there is no room for racism in Australia."

Adelaide Crows star Taylor Walker. (Getty)

Betts revealed he has spoken to Walker, his former Adelaide teammate, and said he's confident the former Crows skipper will "educate himself" and become a better person.

"Yeah, we have [spoken]," Betts said.

"Taylor has called me, but that's our conversation to have and, like I said, Taylor's on a journey.

"I know Taylor and he'll go on this journey 100 per cent and he'll educate himself and he'll educate people around him."

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