Most of the crowd did us proud wearing pink, and lots of it, on Jane McGrath day, observing strict COVID-19 protocols, and cheering both teams in their best moments.
But a few intoxicated members of the crowd made that easy to forget when they allegedly called out a series of expletives and racist jibes including, it appears, the continued mocking of certain Indian players names, and the comparison of at least one member of the Indian team to a monkey.
This kind of talk has absolutely no place in Australia today. It is racist, degrading and completely unacceptable.
It is the same kind of talk that began the end of Adam Goodes career as one of our finest ever AFL players.
In this case, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, and the rest of the Indian team, are our guests. And we should be ashamed to have treated them with such disrespect and incivility.
But there are also many Indian Australians studying and working in Australia for whom these words will have cut even deeper to the core of their sense of belonging, not just welcome.
And there are many insults short of racism that can cause harm.
In the past few days, former Test players, turned commentators, have effectively sledged Marnus Labuschagne, one of our finest batsmen, for his unusual batting habits not knowing, of course, that the microphones were turned on, but showing utter disregard for basic norms of respect towards those with learning difficulties.
And our captain, who has led the team admirably in other ways, effectively sledged one of the most professional and experienced umpires in the game using an expletive to question a call.
I would not go so far as the Indian press in suggesting this is a failure to respect the nature of cricket as a gentlemans game. As a female former cricketer, I would hope that cricket is now everyones game. But I would say that the events of the last few days tell us that sport and sledging should not any longer go together.
Sledging ultimately trades on the idea that it is acceptable to insult others in order to provoke them. And all insults that demean or degrade others ultimately perpetuate the kind of culture of discrimination that was sadly on display among the crowd in Sydney.
The first and most urgent priority, after the Sydney Test, is to stamp out any and all racist language, and that must be what we focus on in the days ahead including by investigating and punishing specific breaches of the ICC code, and if relevant, NSW law.
But our second priority should be to begin a longer and deeper conversation about sledging not only in sport but in our national culture, our Australian habit of ribbing that too easily drifts into nasty putdowns, and its connection to racist, sexist and other discriminatory behaviours.
It’s time to stop the putdowns on and off the field.
Rosalind Dixon is a professor of law and director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW Sydney and a former WA state cricketer.
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Rosalind Dixon is a professor of law at UNSW Sydney and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law.