Three Pieces Of Fake News The Adam Goodes Booers Believed
It's one of the most shameful chapters in Australian sporting history.
And tonight, the whole of Australia can relive it when Network 10 screens 'The Final Quarter' -- the documentary which chronicles the booing of champion AFL footballer Adam Goodes from 2013 to 2015, his final years in the game.
The AFL has since formally apologised for its failure to step in and take meaningful action on the booing -- an apology which its general manager of inclusion and social policy, Tanya Hosch, admits was four years overdue.
"Clearly the industry response from the clubs and the AFL, in particular, had been woefully inadequate," Hosch told 10 daily.
"This movie became a document with undeniable evidence of what went on."
So what did that evidence reveal? Why did people boo?
'The Final Quarter' makes it clear that the majority of booing was racially motivated.
However, most booers always denied that, and still do. These are the three main falsehoods they believed in order to justify why they booed.
1. He 'staged' for free kicks.
Here’s a stat to put that into perspective. In 2015 when the booing peaked, Goodes finished equal 195th among all AFL players on the list of free kicks earned.
Over the course of the season, he earned just 14 free kicks. The leaders were awarded 64.
So if he was staging for free kicks, then it was the first thing in his glittering, dual Brownlow Medal, dual Premiership-winning career that Adam Goodes did really badly!
And at least 194 other players should have been booed much more than him.
2. He picked on a girl
Against Collingwood in 2013, Goodes famously pointed towards a crowd member who called him an ape. This is the moment that started the booing.
There were tens of thousands of people in that MCG crowd that day. Goodes pointed to the area from which the insult had emanated, and the person who slurred him turned out to be a 13 year-old-girl.
People claimed Goodes bullied her.
Watch the doco tonight. It features large chunks of the Goodes press conference the following day. In it, he expresses sympathy for the girl on no fewer than 28 occasions. Yes, 28.
If he was a bully, then he was even worse at that than he was at staging for free kicks.
Some of the things Goodes said at the press conference the morning after included:
"It’s not her fault"
"I don’t put any blame on her"
"The person who needs the most support right now is the little girl"
"It’s not a witch hunt. I don’t want people to go after this young girl"
"I just hope that she gets some support"
"People need to cut this girl some slack"
"She’s a young kid. Kids are innocent and I’ve got no doubt in my mind she had no idea what she was calling me last night. We need to help educate her and educate society that things like this are hurtful."
He said a lot more besides all that too in defence of the girl. Pick on her? He did the opposite.
3. He disrespected Australia in his Australian-of-the-Year acceptance speech.
Many have claimed this. They're wrong. Watch the speech below. Goodes offered only words encouraging conciliation and love of country.
In part he said:
"I’m not here to tell you what to think, or how to act to raise your children. All I’m here to do is tell you about my experiences and hope you choose to be aware of your actions and interactions so that together we can eliminate racism.
"I’m so grateful for this award and this honour, however, the real reward is when everyone is talking to their mates, to their families and their children, having those conversations and educating others about racism."
"The ultimate reward is when all Australians see each other as equals and treat each other as equals. To me, everything is about people and the choices we make. I believe it’s the people and the interactions between us that makes this country so special. Thank you so much and have a great Australia Day."
These were words to bring a nation together, not tear it apart.
It's worth noting that a month after that speech, Goodes had quite a visceral reaction to a documentary about Indigenous Australians called 'Utopia', after which he penned a column, in which he said:
“Imagine watching a film that tells the truth about the terrible injustices committed over 225 years against your people, a film that reveals how Europeans, and the governments that have run our country, have raped, killed and stolen from your people for their own benefit."
People have often claimed he said those words in his Australian-of-the-Year speech. He didn't. End of story.
The Final Quarter premieres 7.30 tonight on 10 and 10 play.