Daily Life

Watch the exact moment Adam Goodes was called an ape by a 13-year-old girl

It's the moment that caused a national outrage.

By Rebecca Sullivan
On May 24 in 2013, Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes was riding high at the peak of his AFL career, showing off his immense cultural pride during the AFL's annual Indigenous Round.
The game against Collingwood was supposed to to be a celebration of the sport's strong Indigenous history, but instead it became a lightning rod, setting off months of angry debate about the deep-seated racism and discrimination against Indigenous Australians that still runs wild in this country.
So, how did it all start?
There was a 13-year-old girl, a Collingwood supporter, sitting near the front row in the stands and she pointed at Goodes and called him an "ape", a common racial slur made against Indigenous Australians and black people around the world.
Goodes immediately pointed the young teenager out to security and she was removed from the stadium.
WATCH BELOW: The moment Adam Goodes calls out the Collingwood supporter. Story continues after the video.
Speaking about the incident at the time, Goodes said he was absolutely gutted by the insult.
"To hear a 13-year-old girl call me an ape ... it was shattering," Goodes said.
"Racism has a face. It's a 13-year-old girl."
Goodes said the girl's offensive remarks had completely shocked him.
"I was just like, really? Wow could that happen?
"It felt like I was in high school again being bullied. I don't think I've ever been more hurt by someone calling me a name. Not just by what was said, by who it came from.
"I don't know if it's the lowest point in my career, but personally I've never been more hurt."
Goodes is a proud Indigenous man, seen here wearing the colours of the Aboriginal flag in his mouth guard. Getty
But the girl's mother, who chose to remain anonymous, said her daughter, who is called Julia, was traumatised by the incident.
"Picking on a 13-year-old child, I thought was absolutely ridiculous and having her questioned by police without an adult being present was absolutely disgusting on the part of himself and the AFL," the girl's mother told The Sydney Morning Herald
"She'd only turned 13 five days beforehand. She was technically still 12. She had no idea what she was saying.
"He probably should apologise because maybe he should have picked his target a little bit better."
She argued that her daughter had been treated unfairly.
"I don't think Julia was treated fairly at all. It was the way he carried on, on the ground that made them do what they did. If he hadn't have carried on like a pork chop it wouldn't have mattered," she said.
"It would have gone on exactly the same as any football game any other week. He just happened to pick on the wrong kid."
The woman said Goodes "shouldn't take things to heart as much as he does" because being "badgered" on the football field was part of being an AFL footballer.
"I don't think he should retire, he should man up and just take it if he wants to play the game," she said.
Goodes has since retired from the AFL. Getty
The young girl later apologised, as did the then-Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, apologising to Goodes on behalf of the club.
"Just received a phone call from a young girl apologizing for her actions. Lets support her please #racismitstopswithme #IndigenousRound," Goodes tweeted at the time.
Following this incident, football fans began to boo Goodes incessantly whenever he took the field, despite the sport rallying around the star player and supporting his stance.
Eventually, due to the extreme stress caused by the booing, Goodes took indefinite leave from the game in August 2015 and one month later, he officially retired.
This week, Network Ten is airing a documentary film about the racism controversy, which is sure to reignite the debate about race relations in Australia.
But one thing that is not up for dispute is the AFL's continued support of such an iconic player.
Goodes and his wife Natalie Croker. Getty
In April, just before the release of the doco, the AFL issued a massive apology to Goodes for the awful racism that eventually forced him to retire early.
"Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him, and call it out. Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.
"Our game is about belonging. We want all Australians to feel they belong and that they have a stake in the game. We will not achieve this while racism and discrimination exists in our game... We will stand strongly with all in the football community who experience racism or discrimination. We are unified on this, and never want to see the mistakes of the past repeated."
The Final Quarter airs on Thursday night at 7.30pm on Network Ten.