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Football's governors can't leave Goodes in too-hard basket

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It doesn't matter how many times you watch Adam Goodes slowly break under the weight of the vicious booing and the ignorance and fear of the social commentary that accompanied and was amplified over his final three years in football.

Every time, the magnitude of what Goodes offered the game he loved and how that offering was squandered seems more devastating.

The tragic unmaking of Goodes, the two-time premiership champion, dual Brownlow medallist and Swans and Indigenous games record-holder, screened on Channel Ten in prime time on Thursday night via the documentary The Final Quarter.

Adam Goodes during Sydney's 2015 qualifying final victory against Fremantle in Perth. Credit:AAP

Watching it cannot have been easy for those who stood against him, nor those who did not see the heckling for what it was. Worse, I imagine, for those well-intentioned AFL bosses who stood by and said so little.

And perhaps worse again for Goodes, the new father now living a life away from the game. The manner of his departure and the horrors that punctuated those last three years would have haunted his memories since. Watching himself play football again after almost four years away perhaps reminded him, too, of what he had lost.

Because the truth is that Goodes remains lost to football. AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder's comment soon after assuming that role, that Goodes would be an excellent choice as the game's first Indigenous board member, perhaps underlined how little the commission understood the schism between the champion and the league.

And it is a schism that remains to this day. Goodes has never returned to an AFL grand final, never attended a Brownlow count. Next year marks his fifth season out of the game, which would surely see him an........

© The Age