Wayne Carey has given a surprise take on the Buddy Franklin booing controversy that has left the AFL world divided. The champion Swans forward was relentlessly booed by a section of Collingwood fans during his side's 29-point loss at the MCG on Sunday, prompting backlash from across the AFL world and a formal apology from the Magpies on Monday.
Collingwood captain Darcy Moore, coach Craig McRae and CEO Craig Kelly apologised to Franklin and the Swans for the treatment of the two-time premiership great, with the club releasing a lengthy statement on Monday. "We apologise to the Sydney Swans and to Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin. The Club does not support booing champions of the game," a club statement read, signed by the trio.
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"Yesterday was the first time we played the Swans at the MCG in a decade – it provided an opportunity to respect a champion of the game and we fell short. Buddy is a great of Australian Football – what he has achieved on the field over a long period of time demands a high level of respect.
"To our Members and supporters, we are on an exciting journey at Collingwood and we do not take for granted the unwavering support you provide us with at every game – home or away. Our fans turn up like no other – you’re our 19th player – you’re loud, you’re passionate, you’re emotional.
"We hope the next time we get the chance to witness a champion of the game we treat them with respect, the same respect we ask for when it comes to our players and our champions. When our Club has the opportunity, we stand Side by Side with the greats of our game."
While many have hit out at the fans' treatment of Franklin, such as former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, others argue that supporters have every right to express their passion in such a way, so long as it's not racially motivated or discriminatory in any way. On Monday, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan encouraged fans to express themselves but said excessive booing had no place in the game.
"All players have the right to be treated respectfully on-field," McLachlan said. "We want everyone to go to a game and express themselves, the passion for the contest and the voice of the crowd is what sets our competition apart, however we don't accept excessive booing as part of our game."
AFL world divided over Buddy Franklin booing
Others, such as Kangaroos great Carey, argued that supporters had every right to boo players if they wanted to and labelled the Franklin debate an "overreaction" from the AFL community. The premiership winner took to social media to vent his frustrations.
“What an overreaction re buddy booing ... What about Jack (Ginnivan) and Jason (Horne-Francis) in the last 2 yrs for example," Carey posted on Twitter. “Gil (AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan) on the front foot only because of Adam (Goodes)?? Not the same thing!! Everyone calm down. Leading the news surprise surprise.”
What an overreaction re buddy booing .. What about Jack and Jason in the last 2 yrs for example .Gil on the front foot only because of Adam ?? Not the same thing !! Everyone calm down .. leading the news surprise surprise
— Wayne Carey (@waynecarey27) May 8, 2023
Carey was alluding to the treatment of former Swans great and fellow Indigenous star Adam Goodes, who has spoken openly about the racist taunts and booing from fans that marred the back end of his career. McLachlan has admitted that the AFL should have done more in support of Goodes, who declined his Australian Football Hall of Fame inclusion in 2021 and did not attend the event.
The booing of Franklin has been labelled "disgusting" by many in the AFL world, including veteran journalist Caroline Wilson on Monday's Footy Classified program. However, Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd said it was no different from rival fans booing champion players of yesteryear such as Gary Ablett Sr. He said as long as it didn't amount to racism or bigotry, then fans had every right to boo.
“I think we have to be careful we’re not getting that soft as a society there is still room for it,” Lloyd said on Nine's Footy Classified. “If there’s any tone towards racism, I understand that, but there are champion players of the game I remember growing up with, Carey, Ablett Senior, and (Tony) Lockett, we’re decades on from that, but if you want to try and get under the skin of somebody, when I used to turn up to Adelaide Oval or Footy Park, there has to be room for it.
“Some would be booing Lance because he’s a champion. Average players don’t get booed.”
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