In the past week two high profile Australian tennis players have caused a wave of sadness and anger in the disability community by using the word ‘retard’ at Wimbledon.
Today, Disability Australia, representing over 200,000 Australians with disability, called for Tennis Australia to better educate its players.
“People with disability often face everyday exclusion through casual slurs and insults,” said AFDO President, Mr Trevor Carroll. “Over time, demeaning language has a profound effect on how society views people with disability and how we view ourselves. When high profile tennis players like Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic use demeaning language casually, they reinforce that hurt, especially for people with intellectual disabilities like Down syndrome.”
Down Syndrome Australia, a member of Disability Australia, has acted swiftly. In a letter to Tennis Australia they have called on the sporting body to offer Kyrgios and Tomic education about Down syndrome, and to be more proactive in their general disability awareness.
“We believe this is an opportunity for Tennis Australia to step up its work in disability awareness and inclusion,” said Angus Graham, President of Down Syndrome Australia. “It’s our hope that they will work collaboratively with us to make sure we build more positive community attitudes towards people with Down syndrome, and people with disability more broadly.”
To learn more about ending the R-word, please visit http://www.r-word.org/
Please direct all media enquiries to Mr Angus Graham on 0434 079 702