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AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan joins Swans boss to condemn taunts of Adam Goodes

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Gillon McLachlan has thrown the AFL Commission's full support behind Adam Goodes

I urge our supporters to understand the toll this is having

THE AFL has for the first time conceded the booing of Adam Goodes has "racist" overtones.

In a show of unity Tuesday night, the AFL Players' Association also declared Goodes had been "vilified for calling out racism."

And Sydney Swans CEO Andrew Ireland on Tuesday night penned an open letter saying he was embarrassed to be part of the game "when it can treat a player as it is treating Adam now".

Ireland went on to say: "Should anyone choose to deride Adam through booing, then they are part of something that is inherently racist and totally unacceptable. 

"The people involved in this behaviour can justify it any way they like. Our club calls it racism."

Click here to read the AFL's full statement on Adam Goodes

Officials from the League and AFL Players' Association held discussions with Sydney Swans bosses in a telephone hook-up on Tuesday morning.

The AFL Commission was then briefed by the League's Head of Diversity, Jason Mifsud, and the code's governing body has issued a strongly-worded statement. 

"Racism has no place in our game, and while I respect that people may have different views about what is happening to Adam, it is impossible to separate this issue from the issue of race," AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said in a statement on behalf of the Commission. 

"The booing of Adam Goodes is being felt as racism by him and by many in our football community and as such, I urge our supporters to understand the toll this is having, the message it is sending, and that it does not reflect well on our game," he said.

"Our game has a proud history of tackling racism and vilification, of creating awareness of differences, and of celebrating indigenous culture.

"We pride ourselves on our inclusion, and on our racial and religious vilification policy.  This part of our game is both our great strength and our continued challenge, and I ask our supporters to continue on this journey with us." 

Goodes has taken a couple of days leave from Swans training, and is no certainty to take his place in the side against Adelaide on Saturday.

The dual Brownlow medallist has been subjected to consistent booing from fans at stadiums across the country this season.

The booing intensified following a celebratory dance from Goodes during Indigenous Round.

Swans' CEO Ireland released an open letter on the club's website on Tuesday evening. 

As well as declaring he was embarrassed to be a part of the game, Ireland said it was encouraging there was goodwill to make a change. 

He said Goodes had become weighed down by the jeers for some time. 

"I hope by now our message has been received loud and clear," Ireland wrote.

"Our club believes this is unacceptable. Our club believes this must stop."

The AFL said it commended the strong statements of West Coast, other players and coaches and the support of the Players' Association for Goodes.

"All parties expressed their serious concerns about the behaviour directed towards Adam, and as an industry we want this behaviour to stop," AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said in a statement.

"We believe that Adam has been vilified for calling out racism, for expressing his views on Aboriginal issues, and for celebrating and promoting his proud cultural background," he said.