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Edwards urges all to step back and think

Shaun Edwards  August 12, 2017 8:00 AM

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Sydney Swans own Shaun Edwards is using personal heartache to fuel his support for Step Back Think's Lace Up campaign.

One punch ... that's all it takes to end an innocent life and change others forever.

You don't have to remind Shaun Edwards about that.

Ahead of the weekend's round of matches, Edwards penned the following emotional article in support of Step Back Think and it's campaign Lace Up.

More than 40,000 people across the nation, including a number of other players across Australia's football/sporting codes, will wear orange laces to raise awareness of the organisation's mission in combating social violence.

Not only that but donations have been coming in thick and fast, including $5,000 from the Sydney Swans' playing group as part of the AFLPA's Players Care initiative.

It's a cause close to Edwards' heart having known someone who became a victim of social violence.

His laces laces will be hardly seen from the stands at the SCG, but his small and simple gesture will go a long way in reminding someone, anyone, to step back and think about the ramifications a senseless act can have.

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Social violence? What is it?

It’s the one-punch kill, pub brawls, assaults, school-yard fights and it’s the reason why there is one less Christmas present, one less person to hug when they get home, one less son to tell their dad they love them.

It’s the reason I’m writing this.

As a 23-year-old male, I am part of the main demographic group that partakes or commits the act, and I also represent the victims.

I’ve bared witness to the horrific devastation and heartache these split-second decisions can have on a personal level and on the wider community.

October, 2014, when I heard Joshua had passed on, shock took over. I couldn’t believe one of the most caring souls I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with was now a victim of social violence. It couldn’t be? Josh wouldn’t find himself in that situation? But as the phone calls and messages kept flooding in, I knew our brother had passed.

Josh was a proud Indigenous man hailing from Darwin who had completed his high school ventures at Melbourne Grammar, travelled the world and was starting his next chapter at Melbourne University studying law.

Growing up I always felt if someone was going to change the way everyday people saw Indigenous people, it was going to be him.

The effect of losing a future leader, son, uncle, friend and brother is something no one should experience and the pain I’ve watched the Darwin and Melbourne community go through is infinite.

The only positive to come out of the matter is that myself and others effected are now aware, and can now use our voice to educate others.

I hope when you’re sitting down this round to cheer on your team, you can have a positive conversation about social violence and how you are going to help create the workplaces, schools and society we strive for.

I encourage everybody especially young men to think about your fellow brother - step back and think - because the pain on both sides of the fence is simply not worth it.

Lace up this weekend and BE THE CHANGE you want to see.

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