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Down Syndrome NSW
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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

DS NSW Patron condemns verbal abuse of people with disabilities

Craig Wing (NRL first grade player for South Sydney) is proud to be the Patron of Down Syndrome NSW. His interest in the organisation was sparked by his experience as the brother of a young woman with Down syndrome. An article in today's Fairfax press (including the Sydney Morning Herald) includes reference to his first-hand advocacy for Kirsty, and for others with disabilities:

Jacquelin Magnay reported on a Rugbly League Week survey of 100 NRL players, on a range of issues, under the headline Sister sledge not cool: Wing. This extract relates to Craig's experience of abuse from an opposing team's fan:

Most rugby league players say they have been abused by the public, including Souths star Craig Wing, who revealed he was sledged about his sister, Kirsty, who has Down syndrome.

..... Eighty per cent of the players said they had been abused, provoked or hassled by the member of the public.

..... Wing said he had been abused many times by football fans, but tried to ignore them. However, he revealed that when he was playing for the Roosters against the Bulldogs at the Sydney Football Stadium, a Bulldogs fan screamed, "F--- you Wing, your sister has Down syndrome."

Wing said he was so shocked that, initially, he could not absorb what had been said.

"It actually took a second for it to register, I was disgusted," Wing told RLW. "I saw the bloke - I couldn't remember him now. I just shook my head and said something to him. People have said all sorts of things to me, but that was the only one I've actually thought more than five seconds about."
Wing says he draws the line when the abuse is directed towards his sister, whom he protects fiercely. Wing organises several fund-raising functions for Down charities.

"The point I want to stress is that you can say anything to me, but saying stuff about my sister ... there are some areas you just don't go. Saying something about someone's disabled sibling, that's not cool."

You can read the full report here.

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