Stars ‘ashamed, angry’ over Goodes film
A DOCUMENTARY ON Adam Goodes, The Final Quarter, will be released this week and those who have seen it have all been left to lament the treatment of the Sydney Swans' icon in his final seasons of AFL footy.
AFL Players Association president Patrick Dangerfield led the charge and wanted to note that what Goodes had suffered through would be a catalyst for change within the football community and he hoped Australia.
"We, as players, feel incredibly sad for what Goodesy went through," Dangerfield said.
"What we can do is commit to doing whatever we can to ensure this moment is remembered as a catalyst for change.
"We implore all footy fans to watch the documentary and let it serve as a timely reminder of the devastation that racism inflicts."
Despite that sentiment, several incidents of racism have cast a pall over the AFL this season - most notably with indigenous stars Paddy Ryder and Travis Varcoe both attacked on social media.
Dangerfield was hopeful that when fans saw The Final Quarter they would realise the hurt that one of the game's all-time greats had endured.
"Despite all Goodesy went through, and situations that have continued to arise this year towards other members of our playing group, racism still sadly exists in the football community," Dangerfield said.
"We hope that the public's reaction to these films remind Goodesy how many people love and respect him and that one day he'll deem the game worthy of his love once again."
Dangerfield's sentiments were echoed by the game's indigenous advisory board, made up of players Shaun Burgoyne, Neville Jetta, Chad Wingard, Allen Christensen, Jarrod Pickett and Shane Edwards, who saw the film in February at the indigenous Summit.
INDIGENOUS ADVISORY BOARD STATEMENT ON GOODES FILM
On Friday, a documentary called The Final Quarter will be released, which revisits the treatment of Sydney Swans champion Adam Goodes by some Australians in the final years of his brilliant football career. This is the first of at least two documentaries being released on Adam Goodes over the coming months.
We were fortunate to see this film during the indigenous Summit in February and it had a profound impact on those players who saw it.
Many of us walked away from that screening with feelings of anger, shame and guilt but also a strong sense of pride and hope.
We were angry with how Adam, one of the greatest to play the game, was faced with clear racial discrimination from members of the public during this time.
We are ashamed with how the game didn't provide enough support to Adam during the most challenging time of his life.
We feel guilty that we, as his brothers, didn't do more to protect him.
We are proud that he stood up for what is right.
We are hopeful that this moment will be remembered as a turning point for indigenous people.
This was a traumatic time for Adam and was felt by all indigenous people. However, it would've been a great shame had society moved on and forgotten the detail of what unfolded. It's important that we all learn from the experience to ensure it does not happen again.
We want to congratulate film director Ian Darling, and Stan Grant, for giving people an opportunity to relive the facts and reconsider how they reacted and reflect on how things could have been different.
These documentaries present an enormous opportunity for All Australians to reflect and learn from what happened so that something like this never happens to anyone in this country ever again.
We want The Final Quarter to be seen by school kids across the country and we urge all Australians to commit to watching it. We strongly believe education is the key to behavioural change.
It is a time for us to all be open, not to be fearful, or defensive, and look to shift blame or promote hate. We want it to start a conversation about what we can ALL do to promote reconciliation.
For us, as indigenous players, reliving Adam's experiences has given us the courage to confront racism head first. We will continue to call out examples of racism in order to keep educating people about the enormous impact that it has on our community.
To finish, we would like to pay tribute to Adam Goodes, who for many of us is a hero, friend or teammate and for all of us is a respected champion of the game. Thank you for standing up for us and we hope that one day you can look back on this time in your life with pride knowing the impact that it had on indigenous people.
For us, your leadership on this issue already sits alongside your premierships and Brownlow Medals as part of your amazing legacy and we know that you've got many more great things to achieve in your life.