AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has publicly apologised to Eddie Betts and teammates over the Adelaide Crows’ highly publicised 2018 preseason camp.
The response came after calls from pundits, football figures and former Adelaide Crows players.
After long-critiqued conduct endured at the camp following the Crows 2017 grand final loss to Richmond, allegations surfaced of misappropriated Indigenous custom and personal information shared in the form of taunts towards Betts’ detailed in his autobiography The Boy from Boomerang Crescent, released Wednesday.
Joining Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Wednesday, Betts acknowledged Crows boss Tim Silvers’ apology earlier that day, adding the league was yet to share similar sentiments.
An AFL statement released Wednesday addressed Betts’ concern, though failed to include a formal apology.
“I felt like I needed justice and I guess it did hurt at first when nothing was was done,” Betts said.
“One of the easiest things to do is say sorry.”
The 35-year-old said the apologies must be extended to the entire playing group.
“They’ve acknowledged the stuff that happened with the Aboriginal players at the football club, but there were a lot of other players that were hurting,” Betts said.
“The easiest thing will probably (be) for the AFL to come out and apologise to all of us players.”
Speaking to 7News on Thursday McLachlan issued the AFL’s first public apology to the playing group following the stir.
“Clearly we’re sorry to Eddie and anyone who’s (been) caused suffering from that camp,” he said.
“We’ve seen today how much it hurt Eddie, and frankly some of the stuff that went on was a disgrace.
“We are hearing him and hear his pain and we’re sorry.”
An AFL investigation into the camp in 2018 found no direct violation of the leagues codes.
SafeWork SA similarly cleared the conduct in 2021.
McLachlan said all clubs were now required to have preseason camps and their itineraries signed off by the AFL to ensure the mental and physical health of all players.