• Aboriginal netball players are walking away from their local club, after their teammate repeatedly used a racial slur. (FB)Source: FB
An abhorrent slur used by their own teammate in the A-grade competition has seen the departure of nine Aboriginal netball players in their stand against racism.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
21 Jul 2021 - 10:33 AM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2021 - 10:33 AM

A group of proud Aboriginal netballers have given up on "the sport they love," following racial abuse by their teammate.

An incident took place this month during a local country A-grade netball game, as part of the Kyabram District League - located near Shepparton in regional Victoria. 

Recounts detailed in a letter from club management described the exchange where a player had used a racial slur toward an Indigenous player and had repeated the slur after being told this was inappropriate. 

There were multiple exchanges to try and rectify the situation through committee avenues, with the representative of the Indigenous playing group saying she felt "unheard" and made to be "the aggressor instead of the victim."

An investigation has been concluded by the Ardmona Football Netball Club with the player in question receiving a life ban and a 'strong recommendation' that she attend Cultural safety training.  

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Despite the outcome, the complaint process was arduous and the Indigenous players demand more to be done to stamp out racism in sport.

In a post to social media, player and captain, Tamekah Atkinson, said they have "had enough."

"It's a shame that we have to walk away from a sport we truly love,"

"We come out to Ardmona with nothing but good intentions - to help and support the club whole heartedly, as they were going to fold and needed support, our history stems back from our aunties and uncles that previously represented the club," Ms Atkinson wrote.

"Growing up as Indigenous kids we all know sport is a lifeline for us, our children and community.

"This is why we walk away as proud Indigenous women - We have had enough."

In a statement to NITV News, Ardmona Football Netball Club said they were "shattered" that the group has withdrawn.

The club and governing league body said they have a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and exclusion.

While Kyabram District Football Netball - the league in which the team and club operated - have had no contact with the players while the investigation was underway, a representative told NITV News that it has not ruled out their own investigation.

'Unsafe and Uncomfortable'

The exit of the Aboriginal players, described as a "last resort," comes as sporting bodies across the country are urged to better deal with racial vilification.

Incidents of racism in sport are consistently being reported both on the big stage and local leagues.

When advising the Ardmona Football Netball Club of their withdrawal, the Indigenous playing group described feeling "unsafe and uncomfortable" as a police vehicle arrived at the grounds.

According to the Ardmona FN Club, the police were not present at their request.

A social media post by team captain, Tameka Atkinson, explaining their experiences with racism and the decision to leave the club in protest has garnered widespread support online.

In a statement to NITV News, a club spokesperson said this incident has identified a need for cultural safety training and the club has undertaken to provide club-wide and compulsory training. 

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