Adam Goodes rejects AFL’s Australian Football Hall of Fame offer
Adam Goodes remains entirely disconnected from Australian rules football after the former Sydney Swans champion rejected an offer from the AFL to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
The AFL’s most decorated Indigenous player cut his ties with the game after sustained booing from crowds and a lack of support from the league led to his early retirement in 2015.
Goodes declined the AFL’s Hall of Fame invitation earlier this year, but chose not to make his decision public before this year’s induction event, originally scheduled for 22 June, so as not to draw focus away from this year’s inductees.
The event has been postponed due to the current Covid-19 lockdown in Victoria, and following a report in the Herald Sun on Tuesday, the AFL confirmed the dual Brownlow medallist had knocked back the nomination.
In 2013, Goodes called out a teenage Collingwood supporter after she called him an “ape” during a match at the MCG. He became a target for crowds and was hounded into retirement after the abuse worsened during his final season as a player.
As a result he did not take part in the traditional lap of honour reserved for retiring players, robbing Sydney fans of a chance to bid farewell to their two-time premiership champion.
The AFL did little to condemn the abuse at the time and failed to support Goodes. An apology was finally issued by the league, four years after his retirement.
“Adam remains a great champion and leader of our game who has given more to our sport than he received in return,” the AFL Commission chair, Richard Goyder, said. “The treatment of Adam in his final years at AFL level drove him from football. The AFL and our game did not do enough to stand with him at the time, and call it out.
“The unreserved apology that the game provided him in 2019 was too late, but, on behalf of our commission and the AFL, I apologise unreservedly again for our failures during this period.
“Failure to call out racism and not standing up for Adam let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.
“We hope that there will be a time in the future when Adam will want to be connected to the game again. This is a decision for Adam and Adam only and we understand and respect his choice.”
Since his retirement, Goodes has withdrawn completely from the game and rarely speaks publicly about his fractured relationship with the AFL. But in an interview with the Guardian last year, he indicated his ties to the game were unlikely to be repaired.
“I’ve tried to go to games and I haven’t enjoyed it. It’s really sad, because my god children love going to the football,” Goodes said. “These are the kids of Michael O’Loughlin [another Sydney Swans icon and Goodes’ cousin]. They always ask me to go and I feel really bad about not sharing that time because I adore them. I have other things to do.”