Shortly after Patty Mills’ jaw-dropping donation for black causes Down Under was announced, the Aussie NBA superstar opened up about racism back home.
Currently in the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Mills spoke about the tough times he endured growing up dealing with racism and the impact it has had on the AFL.
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Mills on Thursday announced his blockbuster donation that will see him give away more than $1 million to Black Lives Matter campaigns in Australia.
“I’ve made the decision to go to Orlando and I’m proud to say I’m taking every cent earned from these eight games that we’re playing — which for me will turn out to be $1,017,818.54 (USD) and donating that directly back to the Black Lives Matter Australia, black deaths in custody and a recent campaign, called the We Got You campaign, dedicated to ending racism in sport in Australia,” Mills said.
“So I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to black communities.”
Mills later appeared on ESPN’s Sportcenter and detailed how racism had impacted him as a youngster.
“It impacted me tremendously. I went through a lot of trauma and situations and that’s just me personally, not even going into what my parents went through and what my family went through,” Mills said.
“I managed to build a shield to be able to deflect anything that comes. I’ve heard and been through everything under the sun.”
Mills then turned the conversation of racism in Australia towards Indigenous AFL great Adam Goodes and the current troubles black athletes Down Under still go through.
Swans icon Goodes was booed into retirement and wouldn’t agree to a traditional grand final lap of honour when his career ended because he was concerned about what the crowd’s reaction would be.
“Adam Goodes —he was the LeBron James of the AFL and he had to step away from the game mid-season because the sporting environment he loved so much was not safe for him because of racism,” Mills said.
“He ended up having to retire early because of it. In this case today and for those athletes, you actually have black athletes in the AFL who are terrified to speak up and fight for themselves because their career would be in jeopardy if they do, just like Adam Goodes.
“I think just being able to help support and help educate is key here.”
Herald Sun footy reporter Jon Ralph was quick to applaud Mills for his words and hoped change would soon land in the AFL.
“Patty dropping truth bombs about the AFL. Hopefully players speaking out about racism is slowly changing,” Ralph tweeted.
Mills joined fellow Australian NBA star Joe Ingles and a host of players from other codes, including AFL star Patrick Dangerfield, by launching the We Got You campaign this week in an effort to stamp out racism in Australian sport.
“When allies who stand up and speak out against racism, although a small gesture, this is one of many actions that have a tremendous impact on the person being targeted because they feel the support. It can also make whoever racially vilifies that person reconsider their own behaviour,” Mills said.
“I believe if everyone can make small changes in this space, that could have a massive impact. So, I would like to say thank you – to all athletes of the majority who are paving the way with your leadership and standing in the front lines to put an end to racism within sport. This commitment of your support is very much appreciated.”