Some AFL players still can't see that casual racism, including gags, is not acceptable, Australian researchers say.
Racism is yet to be eradicated within the AFL, with subtle forms of discrimination still evident in many top tier clubs, researchers say.
Researchers from Curtin, Swinburne and Federation universities examined the cultures of nine AFL clubs, uncovering a general lack of understanding among players about reconciliation and multiculturalism.
"While we found that all players and coaches interviewed understand that on-field vilification is wrong, issues regarding more subtle forms of racism are still not deeply understood by some players," lead author Sean Gorman said.
"Some players still could not see that casual racism, including gags like indigenous footballers 'running like they stole something', is an issue."
More than 21 years after the AFL introduced its anti-vilification law following racial abuse of Essendon great Michael Long, Dr Gorman said more needed to be done by the league to educate its players.
The research, which has been compiled in the book, The Biggest Game in Town: An analysis of the AFL's vilification policy, also found indigenous players still felt more marginalised from their clubs than their non-indigenous teammates.
Dr Gorman also added the AFL had been an international leader in combating racial vilification in sport.