AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has hailed Sydney star Adam Goodes as one of the game’s greats and hopes to watch him play this Saturday against Geelong.
A week after the Goodes racism controversy reignited, Fitzpatrick called on fans to show respect for the two-time Brownlow Medallist.
“The booing of Adam Goodes may or may not have begun for other reasons, but the AFL Commission is of the view that this is about race and cannot be condoned at our games,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
“This is not what we stand for. The AFL, this most Australian of sports, stands for a fair go for all, men, women, black, white, Muslim, Asian.
“It is broad, inclusive and the most egalitarian of sports.
“Adam Goodes has the unanimous support of the AFL Commission and when I attend the game in Geelong this week, I hope to see this great champion of our game back on the field where he belongs.”
Fitzpatrick’s comments follow a similar statement late last week from AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
Fitzpatrick, himself a premiership ruckman at Carlton, said he once stood next to Goodes at the coin toss in the early 2000s before a Blues-Sydney match.
“I remember assessing how I would have gone against him – he was a wonderful athlete in his prime, tall, strong and agile, emanating controlled aggression and a hint of menace,” Fitzpatrick said.
“He was Peter Moore, he was Don Scott, he was Stephen Michael and a bit of Polly Farmer.
“I decided I would have enjoyed the contest, but not the result.”
Fitzpatrick also praised AFL fans for the widespread support shown for Goodes during round-18 matches.
“The football world rose to the occasion last weekend and the AFL is proud of the way our clubs and supporters showed their strong support for Adam Goodes,” he said.