Posted: 5 June, 2012 by Triple M Footy

Fan Banned For Racially Abusing Suns Player

A Collingwood fan has had his membership terminated for at least 20 years and will write a letter of apology to Gold Coast Suns player Joel Wilkinson, who he racially abused on Sunday.

Tags: Joel Wilkinson, Dale Thomas, afl, racial abuse, Collingwood, Fan

A Collingwood fan has had his membership terminated and will write a letter of apology to Gold Coast Suns player Joel Wilkinson, who he racially abused on Sunday.

The fan will also have to address in letters both the Collingwood and Gold Coast Football Clubs, and fans who were subjected to his taunts.

He can not re-apply for membership of Collingwood until he undergoes a racial vilification program.

Gold Coast Suns CEO, Travis Auld, said he was pleased the complaint was treated with the seriousness required and the club and Wilkinson are satisfied with the outcome.

"The Gold Coast SUNS and Joel Wilkinson are extremely disappointed that the incident took place, however we commend the AFL, the Collingwood Football Club and in particular Dale Thomas for dealing with this serious matter both swiftly and appropriately," he said.

"Joel has the absolute support of the Gold Coast SUNS, we admire his courage and we will ensure he continues to receive the support he deserves."

"The Gold Coast Suns are very proud of the work Joel does across the Gold Coast educating school children about multicultural issues, it is a role he is very passionate."

Collingwood also released a statement, highlighting their support for Wilkinson.

"On behalf of the entire Collingwood Football Club I want to publicly apologise to Joel for what he experienced during the match against Collingwood on Sunday evening," Collingwood Football Club CEO, Gary Pert said.

"It is important that Joel knows that the behaviour of one Collingwood supporter is not a reflection of the views of the broader Collingwood community. I hope Joel is heartened by the strong leadership position that Dale Thomas took, which was supported by the crowd that witnessed the incident and then, ultimately, the football club itself."

Wilkinson was last year subject to racial vilification by Western Bulldogs player Justin Sherman, who apologised and accepted a four-week suspension at the time.

AFL STATEMENT: Australian Football League (AFL) General Manager Football Operations Adrian Anderson said that a resolution had been reached regarding a racial vilification complaint involving an AFL player and spectator at last Sunday’s match at the MCG.

Although spectators are not technically subject to AFL Player Rule 30 covering the Racial and Religious Vilification Code, the complaint was dealt with, following an AFL investigation, in line with the same process and consistent with the principles that underpin that code.

The victim of the racial vilification incident, Gold Coast Suns player Joel Wilkinson, has asked for the matter to be made public and his name released on this occasion in a bid to educate spectators about what is unacceptable crowd behaviour at AFL matches.

Significantly, in addition to Joel Wilkinson's complaint to the AFL about this specific incident, his Collingwood opponent Dale Thomas also lodged a complaint with his club about the same incident, as did several Collingwood fans in the vicinity.

A confidential conciliation meeting was conducted at AFL House late Monday by the AFL's vilification consultant Frank Bassini. Collingwood CEO Gary Pert and AFL Cultural Strategy and Education Manager, Sue Clark, also attended the meeting.

The spectator participated voluntarily in the process, took responsibility for his actions and apologised. In these circumstances, the AFL has accepted the advice of Frank Bassini not to publicly name the spectator.

Tags: Joel Wilkinson, Dale Thomas, afl, racial abuse, Collingwood, Fan

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