AN 'EMBARRASSED' Taylor Walker has been slapped with a six-match ban - that will rule him out for the remainder of the 2021 season and the start of 2022 - and a $20,000 sanction that will be donated to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program in South Australia.
The 31yo forward has been the subject of an investigation under the Peek Rule (Rule 35 of the AFL Rules), which relates to discrimination and racial and religious vilification.
The key forward was reported by an official from his own club who overheard a racist comment made at a SANFL match on July 17, 2021.
Walker made the comment - regarding North Adelaide player and former Saint Robbie Young - to an Adelaide teammate who was playing in the SANFL game.
Yesterday, conciliation was held between Walker, Young, the Adelaide official and the AFL where a remorseful Walker apologised to Young and the official.
"There is no excuse or justification for the words I said. They are unacceptable and I take full accountability for that," Walker said.
"I am deeply ashamed. I did not intend to cause harm, but I know and understand that I have caused deep hurt to the official who reported the matter and to Robbie Young, to both of their families and to the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. I apologise to all of them and to the Adelaide and North Adelaide Football Clubs.
"[The conciliation] process has led to a deeper understanding of the hurt that I have caused, and I am embarrassed, ashamed and remorseful."
Walker said the official who reported him showed courage and leadership in calling him out and the Adelaide Football Club has also thrown support behind the official.
The club has condemned Walker's comments but have offered support to the Crows' all-time leading goalkicker, as well as all the "hurting" parties, including Young.
"Taylor's had a big few weeks, it's been emotional for him, but he's understanding the gravity of the situation," Crows chief executive Tim Silvers told reporters on Friday.
"He's gone through a long conciliation process (on Thursday) so yes, he's a bit of an emotional wreck."
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks conceded the Crows' four Indigenous players had endured a "tough 24 hours".
"My priorities, at this point, are all our staff, our players, the Indigenous community as a whole, and I'll still be there for Taylor when the time's right," Nicks said.
Walker will need to privately address the North Adelaide club about his behaviour during the next three weeks.
Adelaide also explained why it had been quiet on the matter until now. The League's Peek Rule states the process is confidential and the club has not been allowed to publicly comment or discuss details until now, the club said.
Walker - who signed a contract extension in July of this year - will also undertake an education program which requires AFL approval.
AFL inclusion and social policy manager Tanya Hosch, who was at the conciliation, said there was no place in football or the community for racism.
"Racist actions and behaviours are inexcusable. The AFL strongly condemns the racial vilification of our football community including our players, staff, and their families, across all levels of our game," Hosch said.
AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said: "We are extremely disappointed at the language used by Adelaide Crows player Taylor Walker regarding current North Adelaide player and former St Kilda player, Robbie Young, at a SANFL match."
He said Walker's language was "damaging and divisive", and there was no excuse for it. "We are very clear on this - racism is abhorrent and there is no room for it in our game," Marsh said.