Prominent members of the Indigenous AFL community have criticised Adelaide Crows forward Taylor Walker’s apology following his suspension for racism.
- AFL player Taylor Walker was suspended for a racist comment about SA league player Robbie Young
- He issued a video apology featuring Young yesterday
- Members of the AFL Indigenous community say the video missed the mark
Former Collingwood and West Coast Eagles player Sharrod Wellingham said Taylor Walker’s apology after being suspended for racism could have been more heartfelt.
And ex-Crows and Swans player and now ABC broadcaster Tony Armstrong said the video doesn’t make “too much of a difference”.
Robbie Young, the Indigenous former St Kilda and now South Australian league footballer who was racially targeted by Walker in his comment, features in a non-speaking role in the video and at one stage puts a reassuring hand on Walker’s shoulder.
In the video, Walker said there was no place for racism in society, that he would educate himself, and “I’m going to lean on you, Robbie”.
Armstrong said that only showed how much work there was to do.
“It’s always on Indigenous people, to always be taking the higher road and always having to extend the olive branch out and be the ones to help and to educate,” he said on ABC News Breakfast.
It prompted an emotional plea for progress from Crows coach Matthew Nicks over the weekend.
“It’s times like this you make phone calls to people you’ve played alongside, and you apologise to them,” he said, fighting back tears.
Former Collingwood player Wellingham has told ABC Sport that Nicks’ contribution was more appropriate than Walker’s.
“Raw emotion coming out of him compared to when I first watched Tex [Walker] — polar opposites,” he said.
“Raw emotion, opposed to something which [Walker’s] thought about what he wants to say, which is great, but not come from the heart.”
Walker will miss the final three games of this season and the first three of next season.
He will also donate $20,000 to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program in South Australia and undertake an education program.