Betts feared same fate as Adam Goodes
AFL great Eddie Betts admits he was “too scared to speak up” on racism issues, fearing he would receive the same treatment that ended Adam Goodes’ career.
Racism in the AFL was brought back into the spotlight last weekend when former Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli spoke out about how his final years in the game were overshadowed by incidents off the field.
While the Hawks have confirmed they’re investigating Rioli’s claims, Betts said the situation reminded him of the pain he endured during his career with Carlton and Adelaide.
EXCLUSIVE: Joey’s grave fear for brave NRL experiment
Betts, who played 350 games in his career, said he struggled to find his voice out of fear he would suffer the same fate as Goodes, who retired and departed the AFL world following a string of racist attacks and booing on the field.
“I found my voice at 28,” Betts said on AFL 360. “I’ve been racially abused my whole playing career, but I was too scared to call it out.
“I was too scared to speak up because I thought what would happen to Goodesy is going to happen to me.
“At 28-29 that’s when I found my voice. And Cyril retired at 28.
“If he’s listening with (wife) Shannyn – it’s great they’ve called, but I wish he stayed on longer and stood up, and spoke about it more at the football club.
“It’s sad to see Cyril retire because of this, because of racism. One of the best talents to probably play this game.
“I will always have anyone’s back when they speak about racism.
Key voice weighs in amid AFL’s racism debate
“I believe now I have a voice and a platform to use and that’s to continue to help educate Australia.”
Betts during his career spent six seasons with the Crows.
He said Adelaide’s lack of Indigenous support left him “drowning inside”.
“There was no Indigenous liaison there and I needed someone to talk to. I was trying to be strong for these young indigenous players and my family and my people around Australia,” he said.
“I had a big smile on my face but I was drowning inside.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!