AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan’s apology to Adam Goodes has come far too late, according to Sydney defender Ted Richards.
McLachlan acknowledged on Thursday that the AFL should have acted sooner during last year’s racism affair, but Richards says the belated apology should have been offered at the time.
“It’s great to see that Gillon has acknowledged that now but it really would have been appreciated a lot earlier last year,” Richards told SEN Breakfast.
“The apology (and acknowledgement) that Adam was doing it tough and he wasn’t getting the respect.
“I really do think it was needed because Goodesy needed help and he wasn’t getting it.”
Richards also suggested that opposition teams did more to support Goodes at the time than the sport’s governing body.
McLachlan last year suggested anyone who booed Goodes was a racist, but failed to set up plans to deal with the drama which ultimately saw the Sydney veteran skip the grand final parade of retiring players after walking away from the sport.
“As a playing group we were disappointed that the AFL didn’t act earlier,” Richards said.
“We really respected and appreciated the support that a lot of the other opposing captains showed throughout the season, especially after things got worse.”
McLachlan on Thursday acknowledged that Goodes should have been better supported after the 2014 Australian of the Year took a stand against racism.
“By the time Adam retired, he had been subject to a level of crowd booing and behaviour that none of our players should ever face,” McLachlan said.
“As a game, we should have acted sooner and I am sorry we acted too slowly.”