To say that Sydney Swans champion Adam Goodes – for better or worse – became the dominating sporting story of the year is a shocking understatement. And the sad thing is that the story morphed into the simmering behemoth that it is with Goodes barely saying a word.
“There came a point this year when I knew that it was going to be my last season.”
“Knowing that this is going to be your last couple of weeks… you just really want to enjoy it and you really want to go out there and do your best.”
“I probably knew about two months before the season finished.”
And that the treatment he received from the AFL crowds also played a role in his decision to retire.
“You know obviously my stand on racism is that it’s unacceptable and that we should always stand up to it. I think going into this season, you know, I’m 35 years old, I played a couple of games in the reserves this year to get my fitness back, so I think there was a lot of factors. And obviously with all the booing and everything, that was another piece of the puzzle that made my decision quite easy.”
Goodes also explained how he dealt with the emotional trauma that he endured – which at one point forced him to take time away from the Swans. Goodes revealed that during his absence, he travelled to the country to reconnect with his mob, which gave him the spiritual rejuvenation he needed to return to football and face the public’s wrath once again.
“I just needed to be around people who really understood how it felt to be in that position.”“I just figured that, for me to get the best out of myself and do the right thing by myself, I really just needed to step away and find out what I really wanted to do and hopefully getting back to where my people’re from and getting out bush could really re-energise me and help heal those wounds… [so] that’s what I did, I went out country and it was amazing. It was just great to be out there.”“You just have to be true to yourself, know where you come from, make sure that your relationships with family members back in country, back home, are really strong so that connection is always there.”“Whenever you are feeling down or feeling a bit shitty, you do tell someone, you do have conversations with those people, because you need to let people know how you’re feeling. And for me, I’m a big meditator, so when I meditate, I meditate about country and how I’m feeling when I’m back there and use that as the strength.”
Goodes also admitted staying away from the media was a deliberate choice, but that the response from the football community surprised and elated him.
“It was time for other people to say how they felt and how it affected them. And to see the response from my football club, the Player’s Association, other players in the league and people in the community—it was just an amazing response and that was exactly what I needed. I think without me saying anything, the message was out there pretty clearly.”
The in-depth conversation also touches on issues such as Goodes’ decision to not take part in the Grand Final lap of honour for retiring players, his thoughts on the push for Indigenous recognition in the Constitution, as well as his strong stance against domestic violence issues.