An Aboriginal Australian Football League (AFL) player, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, performed a powerful protest against racism on Thursday night by recreating an iconic sporting moment after spectators directed abuse at him.
After kicking a goal, Ugle-Hagan lifted his shirt and pointed to his skin, mimicking a gesture made famous by AFL legend Nicky Winmar under similar circumstances 30 years ago.
On Sunday, the AFL announced that it was investigating allegations of “harmful and abhorrent racist remarks” directed at Ugle-Hagan by a St Kilda fan during a match last weekend, adding to the string of racism scandals that have rocked the league.
Both clubs condemned the alleged comments and pledged to work with the AFL to identify those responsible.
“Making a stand”
However, Ugle-Hagan stated that he felt the need to “make a stand” himself. Remarkably, he also kicked five goals in what many have hailed as his career-best game.
“Obviously, what happened last weekend was a pretty hard time,” he told Channel Seven after helping his team to a win.
“I’m just a boy trying to play some football, so are the other Indigenous boys,” Jamarra Ugle-Hagan added, becoming visibly emotional. Winmar had also been subjected to racist abuse in 1993 when he performed the gesture and shouted, “I’m black and I’m proud to be black.”