Port Adelaide's Paddy Ryder wants to stamp out racism in the AFL. Picture: Richard Wainwright
Port Adelaide's Paddy Ryder wants to stamp out racism in the AFL. Picture: Richard Wainwright

Ryder: don’t let the racist trolls win

PORT Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder says he hopes the latest online racist attack targeting him  does not deter other young Aboriginal people from chasing their dreams.

Speaking as the Power returned to Adelaide after beating West Coast on Friday night, Ryder and the club's Aboriginal programs director, Paul Vandenbergh, said they hoped to use the racial abuse as a chance to educate people on why it was so hurtful.

Online trolls posted pictures of a banana on a Fox Footy Facebook post that included a photo of Ryder celebrating a goal against the Eagles.

One of the trolls was an Adelaide Football Club member. His membership was suspended indefinitely on Saturday by the club.

"It's really disappointing that another Aboriginal man is standing up here with this happening to us again," Ryder said.

"It's an attack on our culture and our people but we're going to keep fighting the fight. We have a lot of good people supporting us and the AFL have been really supportive, we know it's not something we're going to eradicate overnight.

"We've just got to keep on it and keep educating people and hopefully one day we'll get there.

Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 5 AFL match against West Coast. Picture: Getty Images
Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 5 AFL match against West Coast. Picture: Getty Images

"If he's (person who posted the comment) able to own up to it, and I ask him to now move forward and be able to educate other people. It's all good for us Aboriginal people to tell you what's right and wrong but we need you guys to stand up for us and call it out and educate people.

"The quicker we can do that the better it will be for all of us.

"We all feel it, we as a club felt it when Eddie Betts went through it, Liam Ryan is my little cousin and I felt it when he went through it. It's not good.

"As Aboriginal people we are heavily out-numbered and that stops young people from chasing their dreams and going away from their community and families when this sort of stuff happens.

"People from the remote communities are going to get it a lot more than someone like myself who has been pretty lucky along the way.

"Hopefully this doesn't dampen the spirits of young boys out there who are looking to chase their dream."

Ryder was not aware that the Crows had banned the offending member but said it was a necessary step.

The Facebook account appeared under the name of Peter Bullen, who reportedly apologised to Ryder, saying he was drunk and would be deleting his account.

"That's good to hear that (his membership has been suspended), we don't want this behaviour going forward and their has to be a consequence, and unfortunately for him he gets his membership taken away," Ryder said.

Vandenbergh said football clubs played a "really important role" in stamping out racism and educating the nation on what such comments meant.

"Absolutely it's frustrating, Paddy is home (in WA) and had a lot of family there last night and should be celebrating a football win for the club, but instead we are standing here dealing with issues that we shouldn't be as Australians," Vandenbergh said.

"We don't want to walk away from incidents like this, we actually want to bring them closer and educate, get them to understand where we're coming from.

"We are a pretty resilient culture and have been through a lot but we are here to work together as a nation more broadly."

Asked whether that would include extending an invitation to the person who had made the racist comments, to attend an educational program or session at the club, Vandenbergh said: "We all make mistakes. It sounds like he's owned up to it today and that's a great first step.

"I think it would be a great step forward for him to come along and maybe attend a cultural awareness workshop or go to a community visit.

"I would invite anyone, I love talking about our culture and educating non-Aboriginal people. It wouldn't just be for him, it would be for anyone who is open to that opportunity."

News Corp Australia


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