The future of Sydney star Adam Goodes remains unclear with the dual Brownlow medallist being granted indefinite leave by the AFL club, meaning he will at least miss the Swans’ clash with Adelaide on Saturday.
Goodes is struggling to come to grips with the booing controversy that has engulfed the AFL since the Swans’ match on Sunday against West Coast.
He was initially given two days away from the club to gather himself after he was loudly booed by sections of the Eagles’ crowd – a reaction he and teammate Lewis Jetta considered to have racist overtones.
The veteran Swan is so upset by the furore, he is said to be considering his future in the game and will miss Saturday’s fixture against the Crows at the SCG.
“As a club, we are working with Adam and those close to him and supporting him through what is a really difficult time,” club chief executive Andrew Ireland said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Adam is sick and tired of this behaviour. It has been happening for too long and it has taken its toll.
“We will give Adam all the time he needs. We will keep supporting him and he will return to the club whenever he is ready.”
Goodes’s next opportunity to return to the field is against Geelong at Simonds Stadium next week.
Cats coach Chris Scott addressed the media on Wednesday and expressed his confidence that the 365-game veteran would be well received in Geelong.
“I think, in a perverse sort of way, there’s an opportunity for our supporters to show a bit of leadership on this issue,” Scott said.
“One of the positives with a bit of an ugly situation is that the AFL community has been galvanised.
“The reality is now, whether we like it or not, booing indigenous players and specifically Adam Goodes has a racist overtone, so on that basis it should stop.
“I’m an optimist on these sorts of things but in my opinion it’s done because unless you’ve been out of earshot for the last couple of days you wouldn’t be doing it … unless you want to confirm to the whole world that you are a bigot.”
Goodes has received universal support from the club and the wider AFL industry as he deals with the issue.
The controversy has sparked intense debate and AFL Players’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh said that Goodes’s health was paramount.
“Right now we’re very focused on Adam’s wellbeing,” Marsh said on SEN on Wednesday.
“He’s away from the club for a few days and I think that’s the right call. We’ll take this a day at a time at the moment.
“We’re very focused on trying to stop this (booing) from continuing on, and it does become hypothetical, but if it does continue on, then I don’t think you could blame Adam if it got to that (retirement).
“It would be a shockingly sad situation if it got to that and most football fans would be joining me and saying we hope it doesn’t”.