Joel Wilkinson, a former Australian Rules Footballer with parents of Nigerian descent, is seeking financial compensation from the Australian Football League (AFL) for the extreme racism he was subjected to, during his tenure in the league.
Wilkinson has approached Australia’s Human Rights Commission after talks with the AFL are reported to have failed to produce an amicable agreement. The case could open the floodgates for more claims against the Australia’s most popular sport. It’s been an open secret that AFL is a hotbed of sport racism in what may be a reflection of the country’s social fabric.
He is quoted saying “I have suffered extreme racism during my time in the AFL and post my career in the AFL until this very day.
“My career was taken from me. My rights were violated due to racism, religious vilification and racially-motivated sexual harassment that I experienced for many years.”
He claims that the prejudice he suffered was a “continuous breach of human rights”.
Wilkinson is made curious by his history with the AFL. A few years ago he anchored AFL’s anti-discrimination advertising campaign, where he spoke he spoke about the abuse he had suffered on the field. Part of the words he uttered are “I actually felt like he was trying to make me feel like I was a little kid, a little black kid, a little piece of dirt.”
He now claims that the League’s public position on racism is contradicted by the day to realities of rich culture of racism.