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AFL’s McLachlan acknowledges acting ‘too slowly’ on Goodes

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

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan has apologised to retired Sydney Swans great Adam Goodes on behalf of the game for not acting sooner to stop the booing directed at him by crowds in 2015.

Writing in the just-released AFL Annual Report, McLachlan wrote that the game took too long to respond when fans were booing Goodes during matches.

McLachlan also stated that he believed some people were hostile to the two-time Brownlow Medallist because he spoke up about the issues confronting indigenous people.

Goodes was booed incessantly through the year and, after attempts to ignore it, eventually decided to take a break from the game.

The Indigenous star did not play against Adelaide in round 18 of the 2015 season but returned a week later in round 19 against Geelong following a week of calls for supporters to stop booing the star.

Significantly, he did not take part in the annual pre AFL Grand Final parade of retiring players.

McLachlan admitted the League should have acted earlier to put an end to the booing.

He wrote "Adam stood up to represent indigenous people and he took a stand on racism, and for this, I believe he was subject to hostility from some in our crowds.

"As a game, we should have acted sooner and I am sorry we acted too slowly."

McLachlan said he respected Goodes' decision to not attend the MCG on Grand Final day for the parade of champions and to take time away from the game explaining that the level of booing Goodes was subjected to was something no player should ever face.

He wrote “by the time Adam retired, he had been subject to a level of crowd booing and behaviour that none of our players should ever face.”

McLachlan said the debate about whether or not the booing was racist only increased the pressure on Goodes, but he was proud at the way the game supported Goodes when the issue came to a head.

McLachlan explained “Adam stood up to represent Indigenous people and he took a stand on racism. For this, I believe he was subject to hostility from some in our crowds.

"As a game, we should have acted sooner and I am sorry we acted too slowly."

McLachlan said he was proud of how the community, players from all clubs and Swans fans supported Goodes during his break and when he returned to the game.

He added “the national conversation about racism taught me how important our role is to partner with all players to fight racism"Adam has led with courage and humility and I look forward to the day our game can properly celebrate the retirement of this great champion."

Goodes played 372 games and kicked 464 goals before retiring at the end of 2015.

He played in two premierships with the Sydney Swans, won two Brownlow Medals, three club best and fairest awards and captained Australia in the International Rules Series in 2010. 

26th February 2016 - 2016 SPORTS WITHOUT BORDERS SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON CHANGE IN SPORT CLUBS AND COMMUNITIES

4th August 2015 - AFL CHIEF EXECUTIVE GILLON MCLACHLAN SAYS THE SPORT HAS ZERO TOLERANCE FOR RACISM

2nd June 2014 - AFL CONGRATULATED FOR BACKING RECONCILIATION INITIATIVES

26th June 2014 - AFL LEGEND ADAM GOODES NAMED AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

27th May 2013 - SPORT STARS UNITE TO STAMP RACISM OUT OF SPORT

9th June 2009 - AFL LEGEND TO ADDRESS SPORTS BUSINESS TASKFORCE


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