By Nicki Spencer, Beaumaris FC Juniors Secretary
On Wednesday April 24, the Beaumaris Football Club conducted a Vilification Forum. This followed on from our successful Forum last year and we believe it is a proactive step in what is not only a football issue, but a broader issue within the community.
The night was opened to all teams across the ages of Under 13 and above, and was well attended by the Beaumaris football community.
Our senior coach Jason Mifsud, the Head of Diversity at the AFL, hosted the forum and brought AFL players Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn) and David Rodan (Melbourne) with him to share their stories in relation to the issues of vilification.
The Forum covered a broad range of topics relating to vilification in football and in life. It dealt with the realities and impacts of bullying within society, racism and its effects on those who experience it, attitudes towards women, the growing impact of social media on life and helping out your mates.
Jason, David and Shaun are all from diverse cultural backgrounds and provided an insight into what they experienced growing up and the changing attitudes in society. They provided a unique snapshot on issues that have confronted them, their friends and their families as they have journeyed through life as professional sportspeople.
The evening allowed the audience to participate in a question and answer session with all three hosts and enabled those who attended – both players and their parents – to ask questions and provide observations on what are sensitive issues in society today.
The Beaumaris Football Club takes vilification in all forms seriously and believes forums such as this is a great way to spread the word that certain behaviour is just not cool!