With the Black Lives Matter movement still in full swing in the United States, American audiences have had a horrified reaction to the initial screenings of AFL legend Adam Goodes’ The Australian Dream documentary.
The documentary, which first aired in Australia in 2019, chronicled the final years of Goodes’ lengthy football career, in which he was practically forced from the game amid constant, racially motivated booing stemming from his efforts to call out racism in AFL culture and Australian society more broadly.
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The film was shown in the US thanks to the production’s ties to Australian NBA star Ben Simmons, who served as an executive producer on the project.
As the film first aired on ESPN, shocked viewers took to social media to discuss how poorly Goodes was treated by the Australian public after a glittering sporting career.
“A lot of Australians still need to get on the right side of this,” columnist Ed Killer wrote.
Other users were shocked by the extent of the denigration Goodes faced, while ultimately drove him to exile himself from the sport.
This Adam Goodes story is incredible. White fear and fragility is so real.— Haylow (@Haylow) June 25, 2020
The @espn 30 for 30 “The Australian Dream” carries more weight today. The behavior of these people make me sick. Let me tell you Adam Goodes, there a MANY people here in the US, who still fully support you. Abolishing racism in Non-negotiable. #BLM— Sultan Of Swat (@SultanOfClout) June 25, 2020
Watching The Australian Dream documentary about Adam Goodes is really opening my eyes about the sport and what he had to go through. His stand for his people should be recognized with open arms. Well done ESPN on this documentary. This is just beyond words mentality & emotionally— Zachary Martin (@TheClevelandRoo) June 25, 2020
The Australian Dream is truly heart wrenching. Adam Goodes dealt with some truly awful individuals.— Ant J Pierre (@_BlackMagic_5) June 25, 2020
Ben Simmons role in getting Goodes to America
Discussing the documentary with ESPN reporter Marc J. Spears in October 2019, Simmons said his own experiences with racial discrimination in Australia had, in part, motivated to become involved in the project.
Simmons said observing the way Goodes had dealt with such an unfair situation had given him a wealth of respect for the Sydney Swans legend.
“It was really about how he carried himself and really opening people’s eyes about saying certain things during a game,” Simmons said.
“No matter what it is, it is disrespectful. And everybody should be treated equally. … He was called a ‘monkey’ or ‘ape’ on social media for months.
“People booing him every time he touched the ball. He handled it.
“I got a lot of respect for Adam the way he handled it.
“I don’t know if I would’ve handled it the same way. But he handled it the right way.
“And I think that’s one thing that everybody respects about him, and I’m really appreciative of him and his people.”