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Eddie Betts reveals how he was silenced by the Adelaide Crows after receiving vile racist letter

Adelaide and Carlton champion Eddie Betts has outlined a shocking incident of racism during his time with the Crows that was covered up by the AFL club.

Betts has recently released his explosive autobiography The Boy From Boomerang Crescent, which  outlines the cowardly racial attack that occurred during the 2016 Sir Doug Nicholls round, but was covered up by the club at the time.

‘It (the letter) carried a picture of me high-fiving Jarryd Lyons on the training track at Adelaide Oval,’ Betts wrote.

Eddie Betts of the Crows celebrates after kicking a goal wearing the club's Indigenous strip

Eddie Betts of the Crows celebrates after kicking a goal wearing the club’s Indigenous strip

‘In big black Texta right above my head some racist had written the words ‘A– F—-T’.

‘I sat there speechless for a moment after I’d opened it.

‘Then I was like, ‘Yep — again. Here it is again’.’

The AFL integrity unit is set to investigate the claims made by Betts, with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan saying it was the first he had heard of it.

‘I had no visibility of that and it’s in the paper today and I hadn’t heard of that,’ he said on 3AW.

‘I’m sure our integrity guys will be looking into that and I’ll follow that up today.’

The letter shocked Betts, who was scheduled to be the face of the club at a media event to promote Sir Doug Nicholls round to celebrate Indigenous players and culture.

Betts is now retired from playing but working as an assistant coach with the Geelong Cats

Betts is now retired from playing but working as an assistant coach with the Geelong Cats

Betts wanted to bring the racist letter to light at the media opportunity, but first felt he should consult the club on his plans. 

‘That week, I was set to do a press conference with the Adelaide media on behalf of the Crows,’ he wrote.

‘I knew that I should speak up about what I’d gotten in the mail.

‘At the same time, I didn’t want to create too much hassle and work for the people around me.

‘(My wife) Anna and I had called the club and asked them for a 9am meeting, and I was due to do a presser at 11am after training.

‘I didn’t feel like I could mention the letter without at least telling the club what I wanted to do.

‘When we walked into the meeting with the club, straight away I was looking at all-white faces.

Betts wanted to use the letter as an example of the racism that exists in the game and shine a light on it.

Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts of the Crows come from the field after the round four AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers in 2017

Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts of the Crows come from the field after the round four AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers in 2017

But when he presented the letter and his case to the Crows, they talked him out of speaking up. 

‘I knew that they would not fully understand what I was about to show them — how stuff like this cuts me to the core, and in particular the effect the word ‘a–‘ can have,’ Betts wrote.

‘I said to the club, ‘Listen, I really want to take this piece of paper into this press conference and when the journos ask me why the AFL has the Indigenous Round, I want to say, this is why.’

‘I wanted to hold it up and maybe even just walk out — leaving the piece of paper in the press conference.

‘Then the club representatives spoke and Anna and I listened.

‘These days, I would do it without even telling them, because essentially they talked us into not saying anything.

‘Upon reflection, they were trying to minimise any type of media circus before my game, but maybe this was more important than the game itself?’

Not speaking about the racist letter at the time has been a big regret for Betts ever since

Not speaking about the racist letter at the time has been a big regret for Betts ever since

Betts said not saying anything hurt deeply and he now has remorse for not saying anything publicly at the time. 

I was really hurting,’ he wrote.

‘I was answering questions about why we celebrate the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, how it highlights our culture and our ways, while that folded piece of paper sat in my pocket.’

The Crows declined to comment when contacted by the Herald Sun on Thursday.


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