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A sorry saga: The content and meaning of the Adam Goodes documentary

3 41 0
30.05.2019

Late in the documentary on Adam Goodes, The Final Quarter, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon makes the most unequivocal statement on what motivates those who continue to boo Goodes.

"If you continue to boo Adam Goodes," Lyon said at a press conference during the latter stages of the 2015 season. "You're a racist and a bigot."

The documentary on Adam Goodes, pictured here in 2015, confronts people with their own words, their own reactions, their own dissembling.Credit:AAP

Yet, when Goodes plays in Perth against Lyon's Dockers in the qualifying final that year, Fremantle fans duly boo the champion, who had stepped away from the game in the intervening period, hounded into seclusion by the booing that followed him for much of 2014 and virtually the entire 2015 season, right up until his final shot at goal with less than two minutes remaining in his career.

The documentary is a powerful portrait of a three-year period, not only in the vexed public life of Goodes, but in the Australian media and society.

It shows the cultural divisions and faultlines in our society, between Goodes-hostile conservatives Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Sam Newman, and Goodes' advocate and fellow Indigenous Australian Stan Grant, sympathetic coaches such as Lyon and Adam Simpson and the players and commentators who were in his corner.

The Final Quarter demonstrates, too, our difficulty in navigating race and Indigenous suffering, and how an outstanding footballer - simply by the act of highlighting a racist comment in a game against Collingwood - became a political football,........

© The Age