Eddie Betts has questioned his AFL future as a result of constant racial vilification, but says he is determined to keep fighting for what he believes in.
- Eddie Betts says he is now “happy to cop the brunt” of racial abuse if it allows him to educate people and effect change
- Betts says he has been racially abused at least once a year through his entire 16-year AFL career
- The veteran was one of the Blues’ best in an upset win over Geelong on the weekend
The veteran Carlton forward this month called out the latest in a long line of racially motivated attacks directed at him.
Playing in his 16th AFL season, Betts says he has been racially abused at least once a year for the past decade, and the persistent attacks hurt deeply.
The 33-year-old considered whether or not to address a Twitter post which depicted him as a monkey, but felt it was his duty as an Aboriginal role model to call out despicable behaviour.
“I was really angry and I wanted to put something up that was aggressive, but that’s not my nature,” he told Fox Footy.
“I’m kind and I always like to give people a second chance and I always like to educate people.
“I’ve got to set up barriers every day when I leave the house, thinking I’m going to get racially abused when I’m driving or when I go to a supermarket.
“All I want to do is rock up to training, play and enjoy the game of footy.
“I’m sick and tired of it, but I want the AFL to be a safe platform for young Aboriginal kids to come and enjoy and play footy without being racially abused.”
Betts said he had previously contemplated his future in the game due to the abuse.
But he said he was willing to take the punches if it could one day lead to sustainable change.
“If I have to take the full brunt of all that and try and educate people so that the platform is a safe place, I am happy to cop the brunt,” he said.
“It deeply hurts, and you think to yourself, ‘Why do I keep playing footy if I keep copping this?’ but I want to make a change.
Betts did just that last Saturday night when he played an inspirational role in the Blues’ upset away win against Geelong.
In Carlton’s first victory at Kardinia Park since 1996, Betts kicked two vital goals and produced a number of game-saving pressure attacks in the dying seconds, including running down Geelong’s Jack Henry with a lunging tackle.