AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan at a press conference in May, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL could beef up its racial vilification policy further, making genuine remorse and education part of the process before a suspension is lifted.

Chief executive Gillon McLachlan flagged the changes as the fallout continues from Taylor Walker's racist comment and his punishment.

Indigenous great Eddie Betts, former star Gilbert McAdam, North Melbourne chief executive Ben Amarfio and Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin are among the AFL figures to express their dismay and fury about racism .


Adelaide captain Rory Sloane, who is best friends with Walker, also spoke on Thursday about his conflicted emotions.

Apart from Walker's comment, Port Adelaide defender Aliir Aliir and Melbourne goalsneak Kysaiah Pickett were also targets of online racist abuse in the last few days.

Walker was banned for six games and fined $20,000 for his racist comment about North Adelaide player Robbie Young at an SANFL game.

The former Crows captain then appeared in a video with Young, apologising to him.

McLachlan said he is speaking to senior Indigenous players about what the League should do next, adding the broad conversation is "complicated".


But he said three key focuses moving forward were improving education, ensuring Indigenous representation at every club - which he hinted would be done outside the soft cap - and requirements for offenders around accountability and contrition.

"There can be sanctions around games and fines, but how do we get people to understand the hurt that has been caused across the whole game ... across all our communities?" McLachlan said.

"And how do we have a path for them that actually, beyond accountability, that says that they're not coming back until there is genuine contrition, remorse, learning and understanding of that hurt?

"That's what we're discussing, that's certainly on my mind."

McLachlan was asked if a condition might be having to front a media conference - something Walker is yet to do.


"There will be a lot of stuff that comes in the discussions we're having," McLachlan replied.

The AFL boss added the League had spoken to government and social media companies "at length" about the online abuse of players.

McLachlan noted tracking down offenders is "challenging", adding people needed to think about what they are doing and the hurt they caused before posting comments.

He also commented on the comparison between Walker's punishment and a two-year membership suspension handed to a fan in 2019 for racist abuse, saying they are "separate" issues.

"The debate about too light, not right, not enough, is different from the debate that I'm having with others about the understanding of the hurt, and the pathway back for players, individuals to be able to continue in our industry," he said.

Also on Thursday, Sloane said he has had to strike a balance between his friendship with Walker and making sure many people at the Crows, including their Indigenous players, are being looked after.

Following Pickett's abuse, Goodwin said it "just has to stop" and added he and other non-Indigenous people must take up the fight.

"Being able to give him a hug and see the visible distress that he was under post the game makes it incredibly upsetting as a coach, and we need to make a stand," Goodwin said.