AFL great Eddie Betts has launched his new foundation, dedicated to helping First Nations children.
The former Carlton and Adelaide star has long been a strong advocate on Indigenous affairs, regularly voicing concerns around racism, which he experienced during his playing days.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Eddie Betts launches new foundation for First Nations youth.
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Betts kicked 640 goals from 350 AFL games before retiring at the end of 2021 and taking up a part-time development coaching position at the Cats in 2022. He has since stepped away from that position to focus on the establishment of the foundation.
Posting a video to Instagram alongside a touching caption, Betts announced the project is live.
“Introducing the Eddie Betts Foundation, a true passion project for myself and my family,” he wrote.
“We’re committed to breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sport and education.
“As someone who has experienced those challenges firsthand, I know the impact this work can have.
“That’s why I’m proud to be able to make this work official and bring on board an incredible team to help us continue making a difference.
“We’re all about fostering self-determination and respect within our communities. With the right support, these kids can achieve anything they set their minds to.”
The 36-year-old spoke candidly about his experience as an Aboriginal Australian.
“Growing up, I experienced, first hand, the barriers to accessing sport and education.
“That’s why I am so proud to be launching the Eddie Betts Foundation.
“It’s an extension of my family’s life-long commitment to opening pathways and creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to thrive.
“The way we care for each other in community, the way we nurture the young ones coming through as community leaders, that’s a strength grounded in our traditional culture, and that’s the way we go about things at my foundation.
“It’s about developing leadership, it’s about self-determination, it’s about opportunity, it’s about equality, it’s a little step-up.
“As an Aboriginal owned and led foundation, we are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges our young people face.”
In September 2022, Betts publicly called on all AFL clubs to examine their treatment of Indigenous players, as the shock claims against Hawthorn emerged.
Betts’ foundation launch has come as the AFL heads into its Sir Doug Nicholls Round that celebrates the contributions Indigenous stars have made to the game.
It also coincides with the AFL declaring that it will back a ‘yes’ vote in the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.
The league has aligned with clubs including Geelong, Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood and West Coast in publicly supporting the Voice proposal.
Outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan helped launch this year’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round in Melbourne on Tuesday, and the league’s commission met to talk about its position on the Voice on Wednesday.
The league made a statement via social media on Thursday morning.
The AFL said it had taken a ‘yes’ stance after many discussions and consultation with clubs, staff, players and its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory council.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players have long made a stellar contribution on the footy field,” the statement said.
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