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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Round Nine is the AFL's Indigenous Round which celebrates the contributions of indigenous players to the game of Australian Rules football. As part of the celebrations, former Saint and Bulldog Nicky Winmar has been invited to launch the round and will return to Collingwood's former home ground Victoria Park. Twenty years ago, the Saints played the Magpies there in a match which became famous. Winmar suffered a barrage of racial abuse from spectators and at the end of the game, Winmar lifted his guernsey and proudly pointed to his dark skin. That moment has become one of the most memorable and iconic in recent League history.

Winmar, 47, and the AFL have held talks regarding financial compensation for Winmar for the use of that image over the years. The League used the photo again as part of the 2013 season launch and Winmar's action has been re-created using a number of current players as an advertisement for Round Nine. Winmar's gesture is also featured in an exhibition at the MCG's National Sports Museum, and Winmar has told his story for a documentary "Silent Shout: the Nicky Winmar Story" produced by film maker friend, Tim O'Brien, who hopes to screen it at international festivals.

The talks, held in Melbourne, came about due to people close to Winmar becoming concerned about the lack of compensation for the widespread use of his image. The League was in frequent contact with Wiimar through Jason Misfud, the AFL's community engagement manager. Misfud was playing for St Kilda's reserves team when Winmar made his famous stance. Another former teammate, Gilbert McAdam, was subjected to abuse that day and will again be alongside Winmar at the launch. Both will attend the Dreamtime at the "G" match between Richmond and Essendon, the showpiece match of the round. Essendon and Richmond were selected for the annual Dreamtime game because their combined colors of red, black and yellow represent the colors of the Indigenous flag.

It was also in 1993 that Essendon's Michael Long took a public stand against racism after he himself was abused by Collingwood ruckman Damian Monkhorst. Monkhorst later apologized. The stance taken by both Winmar and Long helped bring about the AFL's anti-vilification policy.

Winmar played 230 games for the Saints 1987-1988 and a further 21 games for the Bulldogs in 1999.

Source: theage.com.au, Encyclopedia of League Footballers, ed. notes

Article last changed on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 8:05 PM EDT


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