Indigenous NBA star Patty Mills has offered a sobering reality of the impact of racism in the AFL, claiming black athletes are afraid to speak out on the issue due to fears of being driven out of the game.
Mills has been an outspoken advocate of stamping out racism, and has vowed to give up his entire $1.5 million AUD salary to Black Lives Matter charities.
Speaking from the Orlando bubble where his San Antonio Spurs are set to resume their season at the end of the month, Mills touched on the sad situation black athletes in the AFL face.
“In this case today, and for those athletes, you actually have black athletes who are terrified to speak up and fight for themselves because their career would be in jeopardy if they do, just like Adam Goodes, he told ESPN.
“Just being able to support and help educate is key here.
“Adam Goodes, he was LeBron James of the AFL and he had to step away from the game mid-season because the sporting environment he loved so much was not safe for him because of racism, and he ended up having to retire early because of it.”
Mills explained that he had been forced to develop a “shield” in order to deal with racial vilification he had experienced throughout his life.
“It impacted me tremendously,” he said of experiencing racism growing up.
“I went through a lot of trauma and situations, and that’s just me personally, not even going into what my parents went through and what my family went through.
“I’ve managed to build a shield to be able to deflect anything I’ve heard and I’ve been through everything under the sun.”