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Indigenous players recreate Winmar's stand

Callum Twomey  May 10, 2013 6:49 PM

2013 Indigenous Round TVC The AFL celebrates 20 years since Nicky Winmar's iconic gesture
FOOTBALL changed when Nicky Winmar lifted his shirt, pointed at his skin and took a stand against racism in 1993, and 20 years on today's generation of players have paid tribute to the former St Kilda star.

Four of the competition's leading indigenous players – Essendon's Paddy Ryder, Carlton's Andrew Walker, Hawthorn's Shaun Burgoyne and Kangaroo Lindsay Thomas – showed their appreciation this month when they starred in an AFL advertisement to promote Indigenous Round.

Indigenous Round is coming: click here to see the Indigenous Round hub

It will air from next week.

Filmed at Victoria Park – the scene of Winmar's anti-racism gesture – the quartet lift their jumpers and point to their skin to re-enact Winmar's powerful stand.

Burgoyne said the impact of Winmar, and that of Essendon's Michael Long two years later in a vilification case against Damian Monkhurst, had lasted.  

"I remember seeing the photo [of Winmar] when I was a lot younger, and I understood what he was doing – pointing at his skin – but I didn't realise the significance of what was actually happening," Burgoyne told AFL.com.au.

"I was a little bit older by the time the Michael Long incident happened, so by then I was fully aware of what was going on. Those guys taking a stand made it a lot easier for the players today."

Ryder was only five years old in 1993. He hasn't experienced racism on the football field, and knows the players who went before him were responsible for that.  

"It was a pretty memorable moment, it had a massive influence," Ryder said.

"I've had mates and have known people who have been racism targets, but I've had nothing really said to me. I've been lucky in that sense.

"'Longy' still comes down to the club and it's always good to see him. He's another one who has been huge in the fight against racism. To know him personally and to see him suffer what he did, I'm pretty proud to know him."

Burgoyne, a member of the AFL Players' Indigenous advisory board, believes on-field racism is a thing of the past, a result of a number of different initiatives which were originally promoted by Winmar and Long's stance.

But he sees the job as an on-going education process.

"You're probably never happy with where you are – you can always be better. And the AFL is pretty proactive with trying to improve things," Burgoyne said.

Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey