Fan faces ban after racial attack on respected Aboriginal elder

DARLEY Football Club will suspend a supporter who racially abused respected Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett at Darley Park on Saturday.

The incident was one of two racial vilification incidents to occur across the region with Carngham Linton under-17 footballer, Zac McLeod, also alleging he was racially vilified during a match against Dunnstown on Saturday.

The two separate incidents occurred as the region celebrated indigenous and multicultural rounds.

Ted Lovett, Aboriginal elder.

Ted Lovett, Aboriginal elder.

The offender in the first incident, who is related to a Darley senior player, admitted to racially vilifying Mr Lovett on Sunday, with the club to ban him from attending future matches, as it moves to stamp out racism.

Devils president Grant Wright said the man responsible admitted to making the offensive remarks and wished to meet the popular indigenous leader to apologise.

A mediation session has been planned for during the week.

It is not yet known what punishment will be handed down by the Ballarat Football League, nor the Darley Football Club, but Wright said there would definitely be a club-imposed ban.

“As a club, we are very apologetic to Ted and to all indigenous people for that matter,” Wright said.

“We can’t accept racism in any way. It’s absolutely not what we’re about.”

Mr Lovett said he was deeply hurt by the incident, which showed racism was still very much alive in society.

“I was very put off by the whole thing. I was wild,” he said.

“It just goes to show we’ve got a long way to go in this country.

“I had been speaking to 200 school kids the day before about racism and told them I felt racism was still alive. People might not believe you but incidents like this show it exists.”

Lovett attends every North City match, where his grandson, Geoff, is a promising player in the under-18.5s.

North Ballarat City president Peter Carey said the club had asked the BFL to conduct an investigation, but could not comment on the incident while the investigation was taking place.

“It’s really, really disappointing,” Mr Carey said.

“I’m confident the league and Darley themselves will take the appropriate action though, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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