Mum sorry for racist taunts at Dale Shearer 27 years ago
A SYDNEY woman has reached out to apologise to former rugby league international Dale Shearer (pictured) for racially abusing him more than 27 years ago.
The woman took the extraordinary step following the recent racial vilification of Sydney Swans AFL star Adam Goodes.
The woman, who wished to be known only as Tam, said the incident had played on her mind for years and she wanted to set a good example for her 10-year-old son.
Tam said she had joined a group of friends in hurling racial taunts, such as "Charcoal Jim", and threw an apple core at the now Peregian Beach-based Shearer during a Manly v Eels match at Parramatta Stadium in June, 1986.
The woman was 14 at the time and described the series of incidents as a misguided attempt to impress a group of boys.
Tam last week contacted The Daily for help to deliver a letter of apology, to the former Broncos, Sea Eagles, Queensland and Australian fullback.
"I've played it over in my head so many times, remembering the football game and the name-calling, that day over and over again," she told The Daily.
"And that's the thing - I didn't even know his real name or who he was (back then).
"How can someone (me) be that awful? I've often said I wanted to track him down.
"We were watching the Sydney Swans game Friday a week ago and we saw what happened to Adam Goodes.
"It impacted me. I saw the next day that the girl who abused him was only 13 years old.
"If she could know what she did was wrong and stand in front of the media and apologise, then I can say sorry, too."
She said Shearer, who was playing for the Sea Eagles at the time, had handled the abuse with dignity and had not reacted to the jibes.
Tam said she had taken part in heckling Shearer even though she knew it was wrong and regretted not having the strength to stand up to those who had initiated the name-calling.
She said she had talked to her son about the incident in the hope he would know to react differently in a similar situation.
"My son has such an honourable heart and he hates any kind of bullying or racism," Tam said.
"He just doesn't understand how someone could judge someone on their skin colour. I really value that - that he has that attitude."
Shearer played 194 first-grade games, 26 for Queensland and 20 Tests for Australia. He was named in the Indigenous Australian team of the century and held the record for the most Origin tries until being eclipsed by Greg Inglis last year.
The Daily attempted to contact Shearer yesterday but he did not return calls in time for publication.