Waleed Aly's challenge after Adam Goodes' documentary
Waleed Aly has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Adam Goodes after the controversial documentary addressing the bullying and racism the former Sydney Swans star faced in Australia sparked an outpouring of emotion and support.
The Final Quarter, which was aired on Thursday night on Channel 10, showed the booing and abuse Goodes dealt with over the last three seasons of his career, leading him into an early retirement.
In the special late-night edition of The Project that followed the documentary, Aly spoke with indigenous representatives and media and sporting figures to discuss the issue.
“It was a difficult thing to go through ... what should have been a spectacular finish to an incredible career is just extremely sad,” said Jude Bolton, former Sydney Swans player and teammate.
Chip Le Grand, journalist at The Australian, said the doco demonstrated how “a lot of us don’t seem to even know racism when we see it”.
He criticised the AFL’s failure to step in and defend Goodes.
“They just needed someone to clearly stand up, and it was [Chief Executive Officer] Gillon McLachlan’s time, in that instance, to just say: ‘Look, yes, it is complicated but, clearly, race is a part of this, it’s a big part of this, it’s ugly and it has to stop’,” he said.
Aly closed the discussion by making a statement on what the nation should do from this point.
“It seems that what began as personal torment for Adam quickly became a national controversy,” Aly said.
“The question now really is whether it can become a productive national conversation. And the answer to that question rests with each of us.”
The AFL released an apology on the same day of the film premiere.
“Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him and call it out,” the statement said.
“We apologise unreservedly for our failures during this period.
“Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.”