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Swans veteran disappointed with AFL tardiness on Goodes

Nick Bowen  March 18, 2016 10:15 AM

Late apology, Magpie scare, Punt Rd pitch Nat Edwards with the latest news
As a game, we should have acted sooner and I am sorry we acted too slowly

THE AFL's apology to Adam Goodes should have come far earlier, Goodes' former teammate Ted Richards says.
 
Goodes was booed incessantly by crowds last season and, after attempts to ignore it, eventually decided to take a break from the game.
 
The two-time Brownlow medallist sat out the Swans' round 18 clash against Adelaide, but returned a round later against Geelong following a week of calls for supporters to stop booing him.
 
In the AFL Annual Report released on Thursday, McLachlan admitted the League should have acted earlier to put an end to the booing.
 
"Adam stood up to represent indigenous people and he took a stand on racism, and for this, I believe he was subject to hostility from some in our crowds," McLachlan wrote.
 
"As a game, we should have acted sooner and I am sorry we acted too slowly."
 
Richards, who played alongside Goodes at the Swans from 2006-15, told SEN radio on Friday that the AFL's apology was "great" but late.
 
"As a playing group we were disappointed that the AFL didn't act earlier as Gillon said," Richards said.
 
"We really respected and appreciated the support that a lot of the other opposing captains showed throughout the season, especially once things got worse.
 
"It's great to see that Gill has acknowledged that now, but it really would have been appreciated a lot earlier last year."
 
Richards said the booing Goodes copped had been unparalleled in Australian sport.
 
"In my time in footy, you see it and everyone kind of respects that there's a certain level of passionate fans and cheering for your team," the Swans full-back said.
 
"But I just felt that went too far for too long, so much so that it was gaining momentum and it was getting bigger and bigger each week.
 
"It's not something I think that we'd seen in Australia. You see stuff like that going on overseas.
 
"I was just really disappointed that it was able to go on for so long."
 
Meanwhile, Richards remains in a race against time to prove his fitness for the Swans' round one clash against Collingwood next Saturday.
 
The 33-year-old has been troubled by a calf injury since returning from the Christmas break, but said he could return in a practice match with the Swans' NEAFL team on Saturday.
 
"We've got a reserves game so I'm hoping to play in that, but at the same time if I do get ruled out of that I'm not sure what that means for round one," Richards said.
 
"But if it so happens that I don't play in round one, I can totally understand that.
 
"I don't want to risk everything for just one game (and) possibly (miss) a half or a third of the season."