Latest News

Back to Latest News back


AFL issues ‘unreserved’ apology over racism faced by Adam Goodes

AFL issues ‘unreserved’ apology over racism faced by Adam Goodes
June 7, 2019

The AFL and its 18 clubs have issued an unreserved apology for the sustained racism experienced by Indigenous AFL star Adam Goodes.

Goodes's final three AFL seasons were overshadowed by regular booing and racist slurs during games in which he played which sparked a vicious national debate about racism.

The apology comes ahead of the premiere of a film exploring the star's exit from the AFL at the Sydney Film Festival tonight.

The Final Quarter is a documentary made from archival footage of Goodes and the events that preceded his 2015 departure from football after the booing episodes.

In a joint statement, the AFL and 18 clubs stated the apology was issued on behalf of members, administrators, staff and players.

The statement advised "Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him, and call it out

"We apologise unreservedly for our failures during this period.

"Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.

"Our game is about belonging. We want all Australians to feel they belong and that they have a stake in the game. We will not achieve this while racism and discrimination exists in our game."

The statement said the football community "pledged to continue to fight all forms of racism and discrimination, on and off the field", adding "we will stand strongly with all in the football community who experience racism or discrimination.

"We are unified on this, and never want to see the mistakes of the past repeated."

Earlier this week, the documentary's director said the former Sydney Swans star found it "really traumatic" to relive the events when he watched the film.

Director Ian Darling said Goodes told him he would watch the documentary only once.

Darling said he felt the need to make the film in August 2015, when fans demonstrated an outpouring of support for Goodes with the #IStandWithAdam movement.

Part of the story explored by the documentary is a 2013 incident in which a 13-year-old girl called Goodes an "ape" during a game against Collingwood at the MCG.

He pointed to the girl after she made the comment and she was escorted from the grounds.

Darling explained "in his press conference the next morning, about 17 times, he said 'It's not her fault, please don't go after her'."

The booing of Goodes intensified throughout the 2015 season, during which he performed an Indigenous war cry after kicking a goal in a game against Carlton.

The film will not be released for distribution in Australian cinemas but the production company will make it freely available as an educational resource for Australian schools and sporting clubs.

It has been shown to AFL club executives and the Indigenous Players Advisory Board, which said many members left a screening earlier this year with "feelings of anger, shame and guilt but also a strong sense of pride and hope".

Tanya Hosch, the AFL's General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy, told ABC Radio Melbourne that once the clubs had seen parts of the documentary, the "power of the film and what it lays out is undeniable".

She advised "I think it's clear in the AFL, and Gillon (McLachlan) has previously acknowledged that the AFL got it wrong back when Adam was playing and these ugly things were happening

"(This film gives) us an opportunity to reflect and have a look, to really think about this again, and in many ways, it's another opportunity to focus on these issues in a way that is substantial.

"I'm very pleased that the 18 clubs in the AFL have been able to find some common ground on being very clear to say that we never want to see the mistakes of the past repeated in relation to what Adam endured."

Hosch said the apology "doesn't change what Adam went through" but argued it was a sincere apology "rather than reputation management".

A second film on Goodes's departure, The Australian Dream, will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

Related Articles

29th March 2019 - Reports claim Adelaide Oval staff told not to admit Aboriginal people before Naidoc Week AFL game

13th April 2017 - Racist abuse from fans ‘wrecking’ AFL says Adelaide star Eddie Betts

26th June 2016 - Indigenous rights campaigner Tanya Hosch appointed to new AFL diversity role

18th March 2016 - AFL’s McLachlan acknowledges acting ‘too slowly’ on Goodes

4th August 2015 - AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan says the sport has zero tolerance for racism

26th January 2014 - AFL legend Adam Goodes named Australian of the Year

5th July 2013 - Partnerships to help stamp out racism in Western Australian sport

27th May 2013 - Sport stars unite to stamp racism out of sport

24th December 2012 - A-League fan banned after racist abuse

24th June 2010 - Fair go, racism is not funny

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues



Vlocker Pty Ltd has been designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing locker systems worldwide since 1995. Vlocker specialises in providing locker solutions to suit client requirements in…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Safety / Security / Venues



Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Design / Play / Waterparks



Aerobic Microphones Australia provides audio products for the fitness industry. Products include the sweat resistant Cyclemic and Aeromic headworn microphones and pouchbelts that are made in…

read more

Fitness / Technology



Gunnebo is a global provider of security and access control solutions and services with sales companies in 31 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Security / Ticketing / Venues



Les Mills Asia Pacific Les Mills Asia Pacific (LMAP) have been setting the benchmark for providing professional fitness solutions across Australia and South East Asia since 1996. Our world renowned…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Since 1989 Elite Pool Covers have designed and manufactured an extensive range of high quality affordable manual,semi-automatic and fully-automatic pool cover systems for the harsh Australian…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business