Hawthorn forward Chad Wingard says there were times early in his career when he was subjected to racial abuse, something he says the AFL and his former club Port Adelaide did little about.
Wingard, 26, imposed a media ban on himself last week, whereby he is refusing to speak to any member of the mainstream media, outside of compulsory Hawks commitments. The decision came in the wake of black man George Floyd's death in the United States, with Wingard disappointed the Australian media has covered this story while making light of racial issues at home.
Speaking on The Advertiser's Black Australia podcast, Wingard recalled an incident in Western Australia which left him feeling worthless.
"I'm not at Port (Adelaide) now so I can say it," Wingard said. "We used to have a choccy run, go to the shops the night before a game and get a couple of chocolates. Me, Jakey Neade, Alipate Carlile and Jackson Trengove used to come with us, but this time it was just me and Jake in a supermarket in Perth.
"We got our chocolates and came to the front desk to pay for it and the [shop keeper] got really aggressive and said 'empty your pockets, you guys are stealing'. Neadey was calm and I fired up ... to the point there was this burning desire I could feel inside me.
"Just from that simple thing we were minding our own business paying for our food, we were literally made to open all our pockets and show him we were not stealing, we paid for our food and we left."
Wingard also said he has been the subject of countless racist taunts on social media, to which the AFL and Port Adelaide did little about in the early part of his career.
"This was on a weekly basis," Wingard said of the online comments. "If you go into your DM's or if you go into a photo, that was normal.
"Clubs didn't want to call it out at all. It made you feel like a piece of dirt that you weren't good enough for them to back you in.
"If they're going to write this for everyone to see on my photo, we've got to call them out, and they have now, AFL and AFL clubs do call it out now but this wasn't happening at the start of my career."