Cultural Celebration, Indigenous to Somewhere

With the football season getting to the pointy end, the AFL continues to prove itself as a champion for double standards. Just weeks after the league refused to sanction Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta, Jeff Garlett and Michael Walters for a series of Aboriginal tribal dances, the league is considering sanctioning Dustin Martin for making what was clearly an equally culturally significant gesture to opposing fans during Richmond’s dominant performance on Saturday afternoon.

Whilst it is difficult to appreciate all of the cultural nuances of those who have neck tattoos, it is clear that making gestures toward opposing fans is an essential cultural cornerstone. Otherwise Dusty would surely not have gone back to the well after being fined by the AFL following his wonderfully moving tribute to Joe Cocker in 2013 – any suggestion of it glorifying jail being both misunderstood and far outweighed by the huge cultural significance that Unchain My Heart has to Dustin and the broader neck tattoo community.

With that in mind, how can it now be the case that the league is considering sanctioning Dustin for a two-fingered salute? Sure, the broader population may immediately mistake it for the physical embodiment of the world’s most famous four letter word, but so too may the masses mistake what Goodes, Jetta, Garlett and Walters did as a celebration of Aboriginal culture – a source of great offense to most right-minded folk.

If it is right that there is no difference between Aboriginal cultural dances and widely recognised offensive gestures, which of course it must be, then any suggestion that Dusty should be fined for this glorious celebration of Australian culture should surely be met with a two-fingered salute.

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