It was meant to be a regular Saturday night. Spectators from two teams getting together to drink some beer, eat pies and watch a good old-fashioned game of footy. Children, grandparents, friends and siblings were present, resplendent in club wear, scarves and beanies. There was some typical ribbing from rival supporters, but that’s all expected in a showdown.
There was also some cause for celebration. It was Eddie Betts’ 250th game with the Adelaide Crows; a major milestone.
Everything was going swimmingly. Eddie scored a goal, and he triumphantly reacted.
Then someone threw a banana at him in disgust, and what started out as an innocuous victory dance turned ugly in an instant.
What is it that turns the most ordinary of people into momentary monsters?
The accused banana thrower was a young lady in her mid ’20s. She had long auburn hair, and didn’t look particularly threatening. She didn’t fit the mould of what we envisage “racists” to look like. No tattoos, no beards, no wife-beater singlet. She behaved so normally after the incident, that she even blew a kiss to a spectator who confronted her.
This image of “normal” was reiterated by the woman’s father. A chap named “Don” called into the Adelaide radio station FIVEaa to defend her.
“She’s very similar to her mother — unassuming, honest. This was so uncharacteristic.”
Don then goes on to argue with the radio announcers Dave and Will that she’s been “demonised” for her behaviour, without actually holding her to account. He didn’t deny that she threw the fruit, but he said that if it was anyone else, say Stephen Milne (a non-Aboriginal player), “no fuss would be made about it.”
Don misses the point entirely.
Because his child might be “beautiful” and “honest,” but in that very moment, she performed an ugly act, an abhorrent act that was caught on camera, and subsequently shared widely on social media.