St Kilda great Nicky Winmar has declared "it's time to turn the page" on racism after revealing the Indigenous jumper he has designed for the Saints featuring his iconic stand at Victoria Park.

The champion Saint fulfilled a long-held wish to create his own Indigenous guernsey design, inspired by his football story, his family and the club he played 230 games for, which the Saints will wear for the AFL's Sir Doug Nicholls rounds this year.

Winmar's design features a silhouette on the front of his iconic "I'm black and I'm proud" moment at Victoria Park against Collingwood in 1993 when he took a stand against racist taunts from the crowd, lifted his St Kilda guernsey and proudly pointed to his skin.

Nearing 30 years on from that moment, Winmar said it had been important for him to include his stance in his design.

"The silhouette you see on the front from the Collingwood game ... I will always be proud of that," Winmar said.

 

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St Kilda great and jumper designer Nicky Winmar with Paddy Ryder, Brad Hill, Jade Gresham and Ben Long. Picture: Michael Klein
St Kilda great and jumper designer Nicky Winmar with Paddy Ryder, Brad Hill, Jade Gresham and Ben Long. Picture: Michael Klein

"I'm just happy to be able to put that on the front of the Indigenous guernsey.

"It was important (to include that). It was a big day for us that day in '93 on the 17th of April, which I still remember.

"I still watch it on YouTube every now and then, the replays (of that game). I still reflect on that day … it's going to be there (with me) forever.

"I will always be a proud person and stand up for my people and my culture and for all Indigenous people throughout Australia ... and to have it as part of it on the Indigenous jumper, I'm just so excited about it."

Winmar's jumper design also features two Willy Wagtails - his family totem - on the front, which represent both of his parents.

The artwork on the back is inspired by traditional Indigenous splatter techniques and shows Winmar's own hand prints, signifying his team and club connection and how he will always "have their back".

 

St Kilda’s Sir Doug Nicholls round jumper designed by Saints great Nicky Winmar. Picture: Michael Klein
St Kilda’s Sir Doug Nicholls round jumper designed by Saints great Nicky Winmar. Picture: Michael Klein

Winmar's story is central in a new documentary St Kilda will be soon releasing - The Ripple Effect - as part of its Point + Be Proud program to help educate and raise awareness about the ongoing impact of racism through storytelling and experiences of sport's men and women.

The St Kilda legend said there was still a "long way to go" in the fight against racism, but education was important.

"We always repeat ourselves and I just wish people would try to keep the anger and the words to themselves and not (attack) the Indigenous players because they're hurtful things to say to people," Winmar said.

"The bullying has got to stop and the harassment, it's time to respect each other and it's time to turn the page for what we're here for.

"Life is not a long time, it's a short time and (educating) the next generation is the most important step in our lives now.

"There is a lot more to do. Racism will always be there. Bullying, we have got to control that side of things with the kids in the schools and the mateships and friendships are very important."

 

Nicky Winmar lifts his jumper and points to the colour of his skin to the Collingwood supporters at Victoria Park in 1993.
Nicky Winmar lifts his jumper and points to the colour of his skin to the Collingwood supporters at Victoria Park in 1993.

Introduced to art through a friend, who helped with the design of the jumper, Winmar has been following his new creative outlet for the past three years.

And Winmar hoped to have more involvement with his art at the Saints in the future.

"I just find it relaxes me a lot more doing something like that because you are involved in something different that you haven't done before in your life," Winmar said.

"I hope that the club may set up a room over at the Danny Frawley wellbeing (centre) for me to go and do one or two days of artwork where people can come and do that as well."

 

SAINTS RUCKMAN OPENS UP ON PERSONAL LEAVE

St Kilda ruckman Paddy Ryder has opened up on his decision to take personal leave from the club at the start of the season, declaring the move had allowed him to get back to "enjoying everything about my life" again.

The veteran Saints big man missed the first six games of the season after he was granted leave from the club to go home to spend time with his family and elders in his community in Western Australia.

Ryder said a prolonged absence from his family had taken "its toll on me mentally" and he had felt like he was "going through the motions" during training at the club.

The 32-year-old said he had prioritised his rehabilitation initially in the off-season following hamstring tendon surgery, leaving him without a window for his usual family time.

"The off-season is normally the time when you go and spend time with family and I didn't get the opportunity to do that because I came back here from (the hub in) Noosa, had surgery, we were still in lockdown here and then I got stuck into my rehab," Ryder said.

"I was speaking to the club the whole time and we were looking at opportunities to be able to go back home but I prioritised my rehab, which is really important to me, but the other side of that was I didn't get to enjoy myself and see my family.

"Not being able to do that, I think after a while it just took its toll on me mentally. I came in and I was honest with the footy club and told them that I was going through the motions a bit at the club … and I needed to go home and spend time with my mum, the old people, my family and I knew that would get me back in a good space."

 

Paddy Ryder has made a huge difference since returning to the Saints. Picture: Michael Klein
Paddy Ryder has made a huge difference since returning to the Saints. Picture: Michael Klein

 

Ryder said despite feeling "fit and strong" physically, he had been struggling in training, highlighting the strain he had been under mentally.

"At that point, I was fighting fit but I was training and I was struggling in training and that just shows the mental side just wasn't going well for me," Ryder said.

"The club, they were really supportive, they asked how long I needed and I just said, 'I won't need too long, I will stay in touch and I shouldn't be too long'.

"I've been able to come back and get straight back in the team and play my role, which is really important to us at the moment."

After a four-week break in WA, Ryder returned to Melbourne and was back in the team for the Saints' Round 7 win over Hawthorn.

"Ask anyone around, they are probably noticing a big difference to how I was," Ryder said.

"My energy levels are back to where they were, my mood levels are back to normal and I'm back really enjoying everything about my life and about the football club, and I think as I start to get my match fitness back that will start showing with my output in games."

"The team struggled a little bit and it wasn't good timing. But you can't just open a calendar and pick the days in the future where you don't feel like being OK. That's just life, life just throws that stuff at you and you have got to roll with the punches."

Speaking ahead of the launch of St Kilda's Indigenous guernsey, designed by club great Nicky Winmar, and its 'Point + Be Proud' program to help raise awareness about the ongoing effects of racism, Ryder said he would be proud to wear the jumper Winmar created.

The jumper features a silhouette on the front of Winmar's famous stand against racist taunts from the crowd at Victoria Park in 1993.

"It's one of the most iconic photos ever taken in Australia and to have him at our club is awesome for us to share his story and wear his jumper that he designed," Ryder said.

"He is one of our favourite players. It's always exciting even just being around him and having a chat … it gets the boys going a little bit.

"He has been through a lot over his life and football journey, so it's going to mean a lot to wear his jumper.

"It's a great opportunity to tell Nicky's story because it's such a powerful story."

 

Originally published as Winmar's big statement with jumper design