• Eddie Betts has defended Adam Goodes, reflecting on racism's lasting impact. (NITV)Source: NITV
The Carlton legend, who has also been a constant target of vile racist abuse, has backed Goodes' decision to brush prestigious accolade.
Dan Butler

9 Jun 2021 - 2:00 PM  UPDATED 9 Jun 2021 - 2:00 PM

Carlton forward Eddie Betts has backed Adam Goodes' decision to turn down a place in the AFL Hall of Fame.

Speaking on AFL 360, Mr Betts said the cuts of racial abuse run deep and no amount of time can heal the wounds. 

"Because obviously what happened to Adam throughout his last two years of playing AFL, and the stuff that he copped throughout the organisation and the general public as well, it does leave a scar," he said.

"And when you speak about racial abuse, (and ask) would time heal that? Time can't heal racism."

Betts reflected on his personal experience of racism in trying to understand Goodes' decision. 

"When I think about every time time I've been racially abused, it cuts me deep. It still hurts to this day, and I think it's gonna hurt for the rest of my life, and I think it's gonna hurt Adam for the rest of his life."

Having completed the five years retirement necessary to enter the Hall of Fame, Goodes was a unanimous pick by the selection committee. However, the former Swans star privately turned down the offer with the AFL. 

AFL Commission Chair Richard Goyder released a statement confirming Goodes' rejection of the offer, and reiterated an apology made after the sports legend departed the game acrimoniously in 2015. 

“The treatment of Adam in his final years at AFL level drove him from football. The AFL and our game did not do enough to stand with him at the time, and call it out," he said.

“The unreserved apology that the game provided him in 2019 was too late, but, on behalf of our Commission and the AFL, I apologise unreservedly again for our failures during this period.

“Failure to call out racism and not standing up for Adam let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present."

A 17 year veteran of the game, Betts encouraged fans and the media to understand and respect Goodes' decision.

"I know it's in the media today, (there's) lots of comments. I truly believe people need to respect that it's Adam's decision. If you haven't been racially abused, it cuts you deep, and it cut him deep.

"Hopefully people out there can respect that."

Adam Goodes rejects AFL Hall of Fame honour
The two-time Brownlow medallist and Swans legend was a unanimous choice to be inducted but rejected the AFL's offer.