TV

Waleed Aly Expertly Set The Record Straight For All Those Against Adam Goodes On ‘The Project’

"If you really think Adam Goodes is such a monster, why should you have to re-write history to prove it?"

As Adam Goodes takes extended leave brought on by unprecedented jeering and abuse, the furore that surrounds him has now reached all new heights. With the varied controversies preceding this moment revolving around Goodes’ proud Aboriginal heritage, many have argued this is an issue about the public’s fraught relationship with Indigenous culture. This has prompted broader debate about racism in Australia at large, but others attest this isn’t the issue at all — that Goodes is playing the victim or entirely the one at fault.

In the midst of all this, Waleed Aly took the opportunity to wade into the issue last night on The Project. But, instead of focussing on the larger issue of Australian race relations — a topic which he has covered comprehensively in the past — he chose to focus on the logic of the arguments against Goodes. Are people justified in protesting him for his “divisive” statements about Australia Day after being named Australian of the Year? Would this all go away if he apologised to the girl that called him an “ape” two years ago?

Aly doesn’t give a decisive answer to either of these questions, but he does put the facts under a pretty revealing spotlight. The most controversial thing Goodes said about Australia Day, he notes, was that we should make an effort to celebrate both European and Indigenous culture. Also, considering Goodes has already made his peace with the young girl and repeatedly told the public to support her, there’s a good chance his detractors (in particular, Andrew Bolt) don’t really know the full story.

“If you really think Adam Goodes is such a monster, why should you have to re-write history to prove it?”

This segment in fact provoked larger debate from the show’s panel last night, with comedian Peter Helliar offering sincere distress about those criticising Goodes.

“This goes against the exact message we are trying to get across to Australian men,” he said. “There’s a problem with male suicide in this country, men don’t go to the doctor soon enough, we have R U OK? Day; we are trying to get men to reach out and say when they are struggling. Adam Goodes has publicly come out and said, ‘I am struggling right now, I had to leave the thing I love doing to cope with this’, and there’s people in the media saying ‘harden up’.”

Thankfully, that’s not the only message the media are sending.