THE ABORIGINAL flag is synonymous with Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

It’s displayed with purpose, respect and pride, celebrating all of the nation’s Aboriginal people.

In 2020, the Aboriginal flag will be missing from grounds around the country, due to a copyright issue – an outcome that has deep ramifications.

“It’s something that we’re all very proud of, to be able to display the flag,” Melbourne’s Neville Jetta said on The Talking Points.

“For it to be taken away definitely hurts.

“It hurts past players, it hurts present players, it hurts the communities, because that’s something that we’ve always looked at through times of struggle.

“It’s an identity for us as people.

“To have that taken away from our field is something that will impact a lot of people.”

The flag’s absence comes after the AFL did not reach an agreement with a clothing brand, who has held a copyright licence of the flag since 2018.  

Instead of paying the company for its use, the AFL has opted to paint the word ‘deadly’ – term that is commonly used in Aboriginal culture to mean very good or awesome – in centre circles this weekend.

But it’s an alternative that doesn’t hold as much significance.

“Replacing it with the word deadly – the word deadly is known very well across Indigenous communities,” Jetta said.

“But there’s nothing deadly about taking away our flag.”

As discussion of the flag’s omission continues, so does the conversation around racism.

The industry has been met with several incidents in season 2020, particularly online, with players experiencing racial vilification through social media.

And while society as a whole has a long way to go, Jetta is confident we’re taking the right approach in calling it out.

“Racism has been non-stop,” he said.

“No matter who it is, where it’s coming from – it’s not right.

“To see how we’re handling, it is a lot better than what we’ve been doing.

“Continuing to call it out and continuing to support and back those players who are being racially vilified is definitely the best way to go about it.

“For things to change, we need everyone. We need allies, we need people who have got our back. We need the AFL, the AFL PA (AFL Players’ Association), the governments – it’s just not our problem anymore, it’s everyone’s.

“It is getting to a stage where things are starting to turn.”

Neville Jetta shares more on his background, the meaning behind his 2020 Indigenous guernsey design and the importance of creating change on The Talking Points below.

22:10 Mins
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The Talking Points | Neville Jetta, Toby Bedford and Kysaiah Pickett

We sit down with Neville Jetta, Toby Bedford and Kysaiah Pickett to talk about the significance of Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

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