AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder has said the league’s failure to stand with Adam Goodes during the final months of his playing career is a “stain for our game”.
- Adam Goodes was eligible and selected for the Hall of Fame but declined the offer earlier this year
- AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder called Goodes ‘one of the greatest players in our game’s history’
- Debbie Lee and Chris Judd were among the inductees at Tuesday’s ceremony
Speaking at an Australian Football Hall of Fame event, Goyder said the AFL was too slow in offering support to Goodes and in apologising to him after his retirement.
Goodes was eligible and invited to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year but declined the offer.
“Adam Goodes is one of the greatest players in our game’s history, and has given our game more than it could ever return to him with his service on and off the ground,” Goyder said.
“The conclusion to his AFL career with the Sydney Swans was an incredibly difficult period that caused great hurt for Adam, and the subsequent time it took for the game to recognise and apologise for this hurt also had a very significant impact.
“Our failure to stand with him at the time it was happening and call out what was happening was a stain for our game.
“We wish only the best for Adam as a husband, father and leader within our community.”
Goodes informed the AFL of his decision in June but did not go into depth as to the motives behind it because, as Goyder said at the time, “he did not want his decision to detract from the moment for the 2021 inductees”.
Tanya Hosch, the first Indigenous person appointed to the AFL executive, said she respected Goodes’s decision.
“I can’t say I’m surprised that that’s the view that he holds,” Hosch told ABC Radio National Drive in June.
“He’s clearly been massively hurt and was very much let down by the code’s failure through what he went through in 2015.
“I see this as the consequences of us letting him down rather than any shortfall on Adam’s part.”
Debbie Lee became the first woman inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, a just reward for her playing career and significant influence as an administrator with the VFLW.
Dual Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd was also inducted in his first year of eligibility, while Jack Oatey and Merv McIntosh were posthumously elevated to Legend status.