THE HEALING for former St Kilda star Robert Muir is finally happening.
Muir (pictured - thanks to Tony Hill and ABC News) was the victim of vile acts of racism during his time in football, from local leagues to the VFL to the SANFL.
Muir played for St Kilda from 1974 to the mid 80s. He also played for Woodville and West Torrens in the SANFL.
In an article written by Russell Jackson for abc.net.au/news on Sunday (read it here), Muir detailed the levels of stress, anguish, humiliation and emotional pain he had endured during his time in football.
He said incessant racism drove him to alcoholism, homelessness and into deep depression.
In one disturbing account, Muir explained when he was just 20yo, and new to the club, a teammate urinated on him in a shower while others laughed.
St Kilda and the AFL immediately issued statements on Sunday apologising to Muir.
St Kilda has since been in touch with Muir and on Tuesday released the below statement on Muir's behalf.
>> ROBERT MUIR SPEAKS
In the last two days, I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to my story, and want to thank everyone who has sent me kind wishes. I appreciate it greatly, because for most of my life people have not understood the difficulties I've faced because of racism and trauma.
Although the recognition of the St Kilda Football Club and the AFL community has made me feel more valued, and I look forward to forming an ongoing relationship with them, for the time being I would appreciate some space. I need time to process my feelings and adjust to the world knowing about my difficulties.
My first priorities are my family and my mental health. I ask that people respect my privacy, and avoid making personal contact for now. I would like to make note of the many former teammates and opponents who have tried to get in touch, and assure them that a time will come when we can reconnect.
When things settle down, I would love nothing more than for fans to say hello when they see me. But for now, I’d like to relax and get back to normal for a while. If anyone with a personal connection to me wants to get in touch, they can do so by emailing St Kilda football club at: Robert.Muir@saints.com.au.
St Kilda will collect those messages and pass them on to me when I am ready to read them.
Although I have suffered greatly because of my involvement in the game, my love for football and for St Kilda remains. I missed out on the support I needed when I played, but I am glad it is being offered now. I’m also pleased that the many brilliant Indigenous footballers currently playing the game are finally getting the support they require.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made a huge contribution to AFL football. All we ask for in return is respect.