It challenged Australia when it premiered here last year and now the Adam Goodes documentary has given the United States an inside look at the battle against racism in another country.
After one of the most tumultuous months in the history of their country following the death of George Floyd, Americans were able to tune in to the story of the Sydney Swans footballer on sports network ESPN.
The Australian Dream focuses in part on Goodes’ final years in the AFL, when he was booed heavily and suffered racist jibes.
As it aired in the US, social media began filling with commentary about the plight of the indigenous star as Australia was cast in a troubling light to another part of the world.
“The Australian Dream is truly heart wrenching,” tweeted Ant Pierre. “Adam Goodes dealt with some truly awful individuals.”
“The treatment he received for being an indigenous Australian makes White Australia look like a bunch of southern crackers,” wrote BW Radley.
Jason Alston thought Goodes was treated worse than African-American quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was blackballed from the NFL after taking a stance against police brutality.
“Lawd yall … That’s why as much as I hate the USA’s racism, I don’t jive with ppl telling me the USA has the worst racial issues,” Alston wrote. “Adam Goodes has some parallels to Kaep, and it even seems like fewer ppl understood Goodes than Kaep.”
Australian basketballer Ben Simmons was an executive producer on the film and played a key role in having the film broadcast in America.
“It was really about how he carried himself and really opening people’s eyes about saying certain things during a game. No matter what it is, it is disrespectful,” Simmons told ESPN after joining the project last year.
“And everybody should be treated equally. … He was called a ‘monkey’ or ‘ape’ on social media for months. People booing him every time he touched the ball. He handled it. I got a lot of respect for Adam the way he handled it.”
Many other viewers were moved by what they saw.