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Thompson feels pain of Swans star


Canberra Raiders forward Joel Thompson feels for Adam Goodes and says education is the key to ensuring the racist taunt directed towards the Sydney Swans star doesn't happen again.

Thompson works with the indigenous community in the ACT as part of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre's introduction into leadership program.

Thompson said he was proud of the way Goodes made a stand when he was called an ape by a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter during last Friday's game at the MCG.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire inflamed the situation on Wednesday when he suggested on his radio show that Goodes could be used to promote musical show King Kong.


Thompson felt sympathy for the young girl and said her long-term welfare needed to be considered.

''I really feel for Adam Goodes because people don't have the right to say these things,'' Thompson said. ''It's about education. It's a big lesson for her, hopefully she doesn't get bullied and it doesn't change the course of her life.''

Thompson is doing his part to assist the indigenous community.

He fits youth work in around his commitments with the Raiders, giving teenagers the confidence and skills to find employment and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Dealing with mental health issues and taking children to the country to learn about their heritage are also important lessons.
Thompson understands the challenges facing indigenous youngsters. He was a self-confessed troublemaker growing up and many of his friends ended up in jail.

It wasn't until he moved in with his grandparents in the NSW country town of Ivanhoe, and turned his focus to rugby league, that he got on the right track.

Thompson doesn't want the next generation to go down his former path and will continue his work with the indigenous community when he joins the St George Illawarra Dragons next year.

He plans to expand the program to year 11 and 12 students and wants to make a difference in high schools around Wollongong.



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