Former Blue and Indigenous pioneer Eddie Betts has shared his reaction to Cyril Rioli’s allegations of racism regarding Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett.
In an interview with The Age, Rioli – alongside his wife Shannyn – spoke about his fractured relationship with his former club and how the final years leading up to his shocked retirement were overshadowed by issues outside the club. field, including several alleged racist incidents.
A career-long advocate for Indigenous rights and cultural safety, Betts hasn’t been surprised by Rioli’s allegations of racism within the AFL system.
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“I wasn’t surprised, to be honest,” he said during Fox’s coverage.
“Losing the most exciting player in the game to racism is really sad if true.”
Betts spoke of the AFL’s efforts to tackle racism, but said the organization was still a long way off in its efforts to eradicate it completely.
“We have fought for 20 years to get indigenous liaison offers at every club to make it culturally safe for young indigenous players as they enter the game – and we have only just achieved that this year – so the AFL, we are going in the right step, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.
“Whenever racism comes up, I’m happy to stand up and talk about it because we have to eradicate it.”
At this stage, no announcements have been made regarding plans to investigate Rioli’s allegations.
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