The AFL's general manager of inclusion and social policy Tanya Hosch is hopeful the game's reckoning with racism will create an environment that Adam Goodes will one day be comfortable enough to return to.
Hosch, formerly the joint campaign director for Recognise, was instrumental in crafting the formal apology that the AFL and all 18 clubs made last Friday to Goodes, the dual Brownlow medallist who was booed into retirement at the end of 2015.
The AFL is currently reliving the final years of Goodes' career through two documentaries – the first, The Final Quarter, which is being shown at the Sydney Film Festival and will be screened free-to-air on Network Ten and WIN in coming months, and the second, the Stan Grant-penned The Australian Dream, which premieres in August.
Hosch said she had not spoken to Goodes since the AFL's apology, which represents the most significant step made by the league to repair relations with the Sydney Swans champion.
"What we need to remember is what these films demonstrate is that Adam has had his say about what has occurred," Hosch told the Herald. "This was our work to do. This was the work of the AFL and the AFL industry to do this work, to not rely on the guidance and direction of the person who had paid the highest price for this terrible moment in our game's history."
I'm much more confident in terms of where we are now that we're actually prepared to learn the lessons of the past.
AFL inclusion and social policy chief Tanya Hosch
But Hosch remained optimistic that Goodes would, at some point in the near future, return to the AFL fold. Goodes notably declined the opportunity to be involved in the traditional motorcade of retiring players on grand final day in 2015. Aside from Swans functions and some games, Goodes has almost entirely detached himself from the league and avoids the spotlight where possible.
"Talking to people who've seen the film or have read the AFL's apology, [some] have actually come up to me in the last week and said, 'I feel like I can come back to football now because this has all been expressed'," Hosch said. "Hopefully it provides a pathway for a whole range of people and as always, I just wish Adam and his family the best. In my eyes, and the eyes of many, many others he will always be one of the greatest champions to ever play the game.
"I hope that he knows that and if he ever chooses to come back to the game, that would be a great day. It's his choice, and I support him either way."
Hosch, who joined the AFL in 2016, saRead More – Source