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Western Bulldogs' Jamarra Ugle-Hagan Pays Homage to Nicky Winmar in Iconic Stand Against Racism

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Indigenous football legend Nicky Winmar has praised Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's tribute to him during the Western Bulldogs' victory over Brisbane on Thursday. Ugle-Hagan emulated Winmar's iconic gesture of lifting his jumper, pointing to his skin, and declaring "I'm black, and I'm proud to be black" in response to racial abuse.

"It's up to the new generations to reinforce the stance I made back in 1993. I'm still here, still involved with the issue, but it's been 30 years now, it's like a big relay race, time to pass on the baton," Winmar said in a statement, commending Ugle-Hagan's courage.

Ugle-Hagan said the celebration happened by instinct but acknowledged the significance of the moment: "To do that in front of everyone, hopefully it makes a stance and a moment, and hopefully people look back on it 30 years from now and say, 'From then, nothing's happened since'."

Earlier in the season, Ugle-Hagan had been racially abused by a St Kilda supporter, making the lead-up to the Brisbane match difficult. Despite this, Ugle-Hagan's impressive performance, which included five goals, demonstrated his strength and resilience.

"I did get a bit emotional, especially when all the boys ran over to me. It was a special moment, not because I'd kicked five and the way I performed, but the week I've had and the boys have supported me," Ugle-Hagan said, reflecting on the moment he kicked his fifth goal.

Taking Monday off from the club after the St Kilda incident, Ugle-Hagan returned later in the week, making things a little easier. He expressed his gratitude for his teammates' support during the game and throughout the week. Ugle-Hagan explained that the emotional moment when his teammates ran over to celebrate with him after his fifth goal was not just because of his exceptional performance but also because of the love and support he felt from his "big family" of teammates.

Ugle-Hagan called on the wider football community to speak out against racist comments from the crowd and expressed his desire for someone in the stands to identify the offender rather than him having to contact the club. He also emphasised that calling out racist comments applies to all races in the league, not just Indigenous Australians.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge praised Ugle-Hagan's performance in the face of adversity, saying: "I think we all had no doubt he'd be himself tonight and would want to do the absolute best for his team and our club, but to see him play so well in such tough circumstances was so uplifting. Everyone is so unbelievably proud of him."

"When you consider our connections and our love and respect for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, at some point in time in the future, we have to dance with them, rather than the prejudice creeping in now and then."

Read the full article here

Photo courtesy of ABC

Courtesy AFL

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