Eddie Betts is a diplomat.
In a country where race politics has continued to make headlines, Betts has worked, in his own way, to change attitudes.
It is hard to forget Nicky Winmar, who so bravely and famously called out the fans at Victoria Park for their racist chants 26 years ago.
And Adam Goodes, who stepped forward to shame those who abused him, was honoured in 2014 as Australian of the Year for his elite place in AFL history and his fight against racism.
For Betts, he has chosen a quieter, but still effective, way to combat the ignorance of some members of society.
In the cloistered two-team town that is Adelaide, Betts has thrived both on and off the field since joining the Crows in 2014 from Carlton.
At the Blues, Betts played 184 games across nine years and kicked 50 goals in a season just once.
In his first four seasons at the Crows, the small forward passed that mark every year.
He said this week that moving to Adelaide took his game to “another level” and he was able to play “with freedom”.
However, it has been a tough year so far for Betts and his teammates, following on from a difficult and injury-plagued 2018.
He will reach the coveted 300 game mark this weekend against the Gold Coast Suns at Adelaide Oval and few would doubt his ability to again produce on the big stage.
But it has not been all smooth sailing.
In 2009 he was arrested after a night out with his Carlton teammates.
He said it was a turning point in his career, and his life.
“I was sitting in a jail cell that night and someone else was in the corner laying on the hard bed and he was shaking and I was thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here?” he said.
He credits his wife Anna for finding a way through it and his four children for helping him recapture his passion for football when it has wavered.
“I just really hated coming into the change room, coming into meetings, doing all that, and then going home win or lose just to see the smile on Lewis’ face and Billy now starting to pick it up as well, they really brought the joy back into footy.”
Off the ground, the once-shy man has become a leader among all his peers — not just the Indigenous players.
Eddie Betts said he changed his ways after a night out in 2009 while playing for Carlton. (AAP: David Mariuz)
Nevertheless, his impact on the young Indigenous players at the Crows has been profound.
Wayne Milera, the exciting half-back flanker now in his fourth season of AFL football, said Betts was “always having us around at his place”.
“Even if it’s not a mob night, his door is always open and he’s always there to chat to,” Milera said.
“He and his wife Anna are great at that and they really look after us.”
Milera has already been asked to chair Betts off the ground at the end of the game this weekend.
“What an honour,” Milera said shaking his head.
“He is just a freak of a player and I wouldn’t have ever thought or maybe dreamt of playing AFL footy with him.
“It’s going to be unreal to be part of his 300th.”
What is also unreal, and embarrassing, for the game is to realise just how many times this man has been racially abused.
When a Port Adelaide supporter hurled a banana at him during a Showdown at Adelaide Oval in 2016, Betts was happy to forgive and educate the woman.
“I was just disappointed because it’s still out there, it’s still in our game,” Betts said of the incident during an interview on commercial television.
Three years on and he was to be disappointed again when he was attacked on social media.
But he has set his focus on the sport — in which he has kicked 569 goals — and the community.
Fortunately for fans, the abuse Betts has copped has not seemed to stop his willingness to engage with people.
On Tuesday, Betts was part of a Crows junior clinic, happily encouraging the children.
He is rightly a fan favourite — for those of all ages — and stands as a great example to all Australians of how to steer a path past those who would encourage resentment, exclusion and even hatred.