Sydney coach John Longmire insists that Adam Goodes gets the balance between playing AFL and representing his heritage “absolutely spot on” as debate continues to swirl about his controversial mid-match war cry.
Goodes polarised opinion on Friday night when he celebrated his second-term goal during the Swans’ 60-point win over Carlton by advancing on a pocket of Blues’ supporters and performing a traditional aboriginal war cry dance.
The move provoked mixed reaction, with AFL legend Leigh Matthews saying he felt it unnecessarily incited the crowd.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan threw his support behind the 35-year-old, while Goodes himself maintained his dance was purely a passionate show of respect for his people.
Longmire on Monday reiterated his support for the dual Brownlow medallist and Australian of the Year, voicing surprise over all the fuss.
“It’s obviously an important time for him and it was pretty simple in his mind what it was about,” Longmire said.
“He explained that on Saturday and he certainly didn’t mean to cause any sort of angst or anything like that.
“In the end we as a football club understand and respect where he’s coming from.”
But the Sydney coach was perplexed by the repeated booing of Goodes at Sydney away games.
“Obviously he’s been booed at times, for what exact reason it’s very hard to put it down to, and to be exact on what people are thinking,” Longmire said.
“However Adam said that in his own mind it doesn’t affect him, it affects his family.
“He’s certainly conscious of playing good football, but also representing his people in the most appropriate way that he thinks is correct.
“And I think he gets that balance absolutely spot on.”
Longmire implored Goodes’ critics to open their minds and try to see things from the perspective of others.
“It’s just being mindful, just be prepared to listen and be educated,” he said.
“As long as you’ve got an open mind with these things and you don’t jump to any conclusions, and you’re prepared to listen to other people’s point of view and maybe look through their eyes, that’s when you get a true understanding of it.”