The Reason Adam Goodes Wasn't At The Premiere Of Doco About His Career
The red carpet was lined with AFL greats past and present, but there was a glaringly obvious absence at Friday night's world premiere of 'The Final Quarter'.
The documentary about the illustrious career of Adam Goodes, which ended in 2015 and was marred in racial controversy, aired as part of the Sydney Film Festival.
Goodes, a dual Brownlow medallist, dual premiership winner, former Australian of the Year, and champion of programs promoting the advancement of Indigenous Australians, ended his career in disgraceful scenes, booed by crowds across the country.
Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter "holds a mirror to Australia and is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field," according to its creators.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and Swans CEO Tom Harley gave strained smiles on the red carpet and appeared before reporters, just hours after the code apologised for its treatment of Goodes.
The statement, backed by all clubs, detailed the failure to crack down on the racist booing directed at the Sydney Swans superstar.
"We apologise unreservedly for our failures during this period."
"The treatment of Adam challenges us, and our right to be considered Australia’s Indigenous football code. 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."
Perhaps it was too little too late.
Goodes was not at the premiere of the film, but 10 daily has learned that he has seen it.
"He watched it by himself, in a theatre like this," the source said.
Swans colleagues said they knew Goodes wasn't going to be there.
"It was too much, too painful," 10 daily was told.
Featuring heavily and unfavourably in the 80-minute documentary are commentators Sam Newman, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, who seem to fan the flames of division.
Televised news reports from across public and commercial broadcasters appear to be measured in their coverage of racist taunts and crowd booing.
But that didn't stop the booing, which persisted for more than a dozen games in a row.
The director, Ian Darling, said he felt the need to make the film in August 2015, when fans demonstrated an outpouring of support for Goodes with the #IStandWithAdam movement.
Part of the story explored by the documentary is a 2013 incident in which a 13-year-old girl called Goodes an "ape" during a game against Collingwood at the MCG.
"In his press conference the next morning, about 17 times, he said: 'It's not her fault, please don't go after her'," Darling said.
The film illustrates the backlash Goodes received after giving the press conference -- where he was depicted as a bully taking on a school girl.
"Adam, I wish we didn't have to make this film," director Ian Darling said as he cried on stage before the documentary aired.
Darling told the crowd the production was funded by philanthropic movements and individuals.
"There is some fear, I know, about what this film may stir up again. But the fact it may reignite uncomfortable debate and comment will be evidence that we still haven’t yet adequately dealt with the events surrounding the treatment of Adam Goodes," Darling said on the film's website.
The Final Quarter is sold out across Sydney in June.
The documentary will not be released for distribution in Australian cinemas, but will be freely available as an educational resource for Australian schools and sporting clubs.
A second film on Goodes's departure, The Australian Dream, will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.
It features interviews many key players in the debate including Goodes himself, some of his AFL colleagues, the Swans coach, and commentators Andrew Bolt and Eddie McGuire. The ABC co-production is written by and stars Stan Grant.
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