KILLARNEY singer-songwriter Archie Roach will step onto the MCG today and take football fans back to an iconic moment in Australian sports history.
Roach and his band will perform his old song The Colour of Your Jumper, as well as the new Heal The People, at half-time of Essendon’s Dreamtime match with Richmond.
The Aboriginal musician penned The Colour of Your Jumper 20 years ago, inspired by the moment St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar, angered by racist taunts from opposition supporters, proudly affirmed his Aboriginal heritage.
In a defiant gesture seen as a turning point in AFL attitudes to racism — and in the wider community — he lifted his jumper and pointed to his skin.
Roach said Winmar was a big fan of his music at the time and had struggled with the pain of what happened on the field.
“When Nicky lifted his jumper that day and pointed to his black skin in defiance of the racial abuse directed at him and other indigenous players in 1993, it made me sad and angry that this champion of the game would have to do that,” Roach said.
“More importantly, I think, is what the jumper meant to Nicky and many others on that fateful day.
“What I saw was not just an Aboriginal man proud of his heritage and people, but a young man who had made it.
“He was an elite sportsman in the greatest game, Australian Rules football, who played his heart out for that jumper.”