It’s 20 years next Tuesday since indigenous Australian singer Archie Roach first sang “It’s the colour of your jumper, not the colour of your skin”.
The song, performed at Darwin’s Kantilla’s Restaurant in front of Prime Minister Paul Keating and Collingwood President Allan McAlister, was inspired by the Nicky Winmar controversy of 1993 where the St Kilda player raised his jumper and pointed to his skin as a gesture of indigenous pride.
Winmar (and Archie’s) point was that players are defined on game day by their jumper, and not their origins or beliefs.
After all, it’s a game; one where each side is recognised by the jumper they wear.
It’s the reason why fans cheer a player for years and then boo him when he turns out in another side’s colours.
For me, as a Magpies fan, Mick McGuane looked like a legend for 10 years in the black and white of Collingwood and then became an unrecognisable traitor when he donned the navy blue jumper of Carlton.
And it’s for that reason that I can’t fathom why Adelaide walked away from its own club jumper to try and wear the state representative guernsey.
On the day that the club first steps out onto Adelaide Oval it should be making a definitive statement about the importance of its identity.
If the club still thinks they are a representative side of 10 SANFL clubs (two since merged) then it appears they haven’t yet been able to carve out their own image.
Sure, we are all the children of our parents, but at some stage you have to leave home and walk your own path.
I understand the Crows’ desire to acknowledge their SANFL club heritage, but they did it at the expense of their own identity.
There are plenty of well-credentialled Crows players who have come from non-SANFL heritage: Patrick Dangerfield is a current example and their most-decorated, Andrew McLeod, has his football heritage firmly inked in the annals of the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club.
Sadly, the one-day wonder of the state guernsey idea resulted in club legends turning on Adelaide and South Australian rep players from the last five decades belting the club over the head.
When one of footy’s most revered, triple Magarey Medallist Lindsay Head, said he would not going to the footy if they wore the jumper, the idea was stone dead.
A few hurried phone calls were made late in the afternoon and the obvious decision made to rescind approval for the jumper to be worn by a club side.
In a strange twist, those involved in the 24-hour saga of the jumper now want us to forget it ever happened.
SANFL Executive Commissioner Leigh Whicker said: “The League has since had a change of heart and doesn’t want any public discussion to detract from football’s return to Adelaide Oval.”
Crows CEO Steven Trigg said: “We respect the SANFL’s decision as the owner of the intellectual property, and while we share the disappointment of our loyal fans, this is a decision deserving of respect.We will be making no further comment at this stage.”
One day after seeking maximum publicity and asking members to buy into the jumper, we should all now pretend nothing happened.
The Crows have deleted the video of Wednesday’s media launch from their Twitter account.
It was a mistake and there’s no point in wringing our hands in dismay.
Adelaide now needs to move on and build its own identity; be proud of what it has become, not what it once was.
The sooner they do the better for us all; lest our editor here at InDaily be further traumatised by the revival of SANFL memories that are splattered with images of Port Adelaide crushing the dreams of his beloved Norwood.
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