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Adam Goodes has opened up about the moment that changed his career, his life and the code of AFL.
Back in 2013, the Sydney Swans icon was playing against Collingwood and a 13-year-old girl in the stadium crowd called him an ape.
He immediately stopped playing, pointed her out and revealed to officials she had just used a horrible racial slur to criticise him.
That moment ended up causing him to take a much louder stand against racism in Australia and that consequently saw him booed by fans at nearly every game he played until he retired in 2015.
While no one would ever wish to have racial abuse thrown at them, Goodes has reflected on that moment eight years later and said he's 'glad'.
Speaking on the What Matters podcast with Swans chairman Andrew Pridham, Adam explained: "I believe everything happens for a reason.
"I'm glad that 13-year-old girl called me an ape that night because it has ended ... up to where we are today. Now I feel like we're in a place today that five years ago we probably might not have been as a nation.
"The way we're talking about racism, the way our kids in school are educating us about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - there is a true and real empathy for Indigenous people and culture, I feel, at the moment."
He has largely been absent from AFL ever since his retirement and rejected an offer to be inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Even though Goodes says he's 'glad' the ape comment served as a massive moment in his life, he's sad that his position on racism caused him to become a villain.
"It was just horrible over there and that's where it all just hit me - that this is going to be my last year of football," Goodes said in the podcast
"I'm going to be booed all the way to the end, the final end. It just hit me. I just couldn't fathom that would be the end of my career.
"I was happy to call it quits after that elimination final against North Melbourne.
"It just took a complete weight off my shoulders, and that weight was having to go to work for two hours and put up with that s**t that was happening; that I couldn't pinpoint who it was, I couldn't see their faces, but it was just happening around me in my work environment.
"It doesn't happen today. It doesn't happen on the streets, never did."
The AFL formally apologised to Goodes in 2019 for not taking a more proactive approach to stamping out the booing when it was happening.
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Featured Image Credit: PA
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