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SYDNEY Swans champion and AFL Hall of Fame member Michael O'Loughlin has expressed his disgust at the treatment of his premiership teammate Adam Goodes.
O'Loughlin, a close friend of Goodes, spoke of his frustrations after another weekend when the dual Brownlow medallist was subjected to heavy booing from opposition fans.
The taunts from West Coast supporters at Domain Stadium prompted Swans wingman Lewis Jetta to reprise the indigenous war dance Goodes performed against Carlton in May, as a way of standing up for his mate.
"It's a harsh word but I guess I'm a little bit disgusted by the way people behave in crowds," O'Loughlin told Crocmedia.
"We've got to remember there are still young people going to these games and they watch what their parents do and what older supporters do and they copy them, so it comes around again and that's really hard.
"I've said this before, that Australia's got a lot to learn as this is a reflection of where we are as a country.
"Adam does a lot of work promoting the game with health, education and employment and we've got a charity where we put people into schools and people still boo him, I can't believe it."
"I'm still angry now that we have to see a great champion of our game who's been able to do what he can do out on the ground but has to put up with that.There's just no place for it in our game."
O’Loughlin has spoken to Goodes a number of times since Sunday night and says his mate, who has taken leave from the club is coping OK.
"Look he’s a little bit better today, but he’s been pretty flat lately.
"As one of his best mates I’m really disappointed and a little angry at what’s happened over the last few days.
"It was particularly difficult to watch that West Coast game with my young lad. He asked me the question, 'Why is everyone booing Uncle? Has he done something wrong?'
"And it was just so hard and for the first time in my life I found myself wanting to turn the TV off and not watch a game of footy.
"It was just one of those things that was really hard to take but he's a really strong individual both physically and mentally so he'll dust himself off and come back stronger.
"But I guess every man has his breaking point and the knees can get a bit wobbly from carrying so much weight.
O'Loughlin was concerned the reactions in the crowd were racially motivated and suggested Adam's outspoken nature might have sparked a negative reaction.
"Unfortunately some Australian's don’t like the Aboriginals to speak up and show strength and talk about these issues.
"They like their Aboriginal people to sit in the corner and be humble and be thankful for what they have.
"It's embarrassing if that's a reflection on who we are as Australians. For one of the all time great players to get booed every time he touches the footy is embarrassing and I’ve had enough of it.
"Make no mistake, racism is alive in Australia but we'll keep doing our best to educate people.
"Just reading that article about the man who got thrown out of Subiaco the other day for saying to Adam, 'Go back to the zoo'. And his reply when asked why he said it was to say it was just a bit of football banter.
"Now that’s a massive reflection because he doesn’t think there's anything wrong with that and that's just embarrassing and he just made himself look like a bigger fool than he already was."
Paying money doesn't give one the right to vilify another.This is bullying rooted with racism.Sick of the excuses and devil's advocate POVs— Mike Pyke (@mikepyke38) July 28, 2015
Regardless of the reason behind the booing, common sense should prevail. A champion of the game surely commands more respect.. #AdamGoodes— Liam McBean (@liammcbean) July 28, 2015
So shameful that certain crowd behaviour still exists & is tolerated. Goodes is a role model for ALL to be proud of, deserving basic RESPECT— Ted Richards (@tedrichards25) July 28, 2015
Whatever you believe the core reason for the booing is, it's time to stop! No one deserves to be vilified on or off the field in this way.— Luke Parker (@luke_parker26) July 28, 2015
The Swans face Adelaide this week at the SCG before another road trip to Geelong in round 19. O'Loughlin felt that would be the true test of the public's response after the AFL, the AFL Players' Association and several clubs – including the Swans, West Coast and the Cats – urged fans to stop booing.
"I guess for me the big test comes next week when he plays Geelong and how the crowd reacts," he said.
"My gut feel is the Geelong people are switched on and they've always been really good, they've got strong leadership and [I] think they'll do the right thing."