AFL chief executive Gillion McLachlan presented the league’s annual report tonight, and within this expressed great remorse at the way the way the Adam Goodes controversy from 2015 was handled. 

Goodes retired at the end of 2015, after a huge amount of racial abuse was directed at him by AFL fans. It was sparked by an incident in which a young girl heckled him with by calling him ‘an ape’, and was ejected from the stadium. 

Despite the vitriol aimed at him, Goodes rightly did not back down from being proud of his Aboriginal heritage, and was also abused when he mimed throwing a spear as a post-goal celebration

McLachlan said this in his statement:

“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.

The debate that occurred about whether or not the booing was due to racism put further pressure on this great indigenous leader and one of our games greatest champions. 

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.

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.”

So, there you go. For those still adamant that Goodes was not being booed any more than any other player, and the way he was treated wasn’t a racist issue – the AFL boss man says that wasn’t the case at all. 

Source: AFL.com.

Photo: Cameron Spencer / Getty.