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The Adelaide Crows and former captain Taylor Walker have been slammed over what is being described as a "staged" and "scripted" apology over a racism furore that has rocked the code.
Crows veteran Walker has appeared in a video alongside Robbie Young to issue an apology for his racist comment about the Indigenous North Adelaide player at a SANFL game.
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Former Adelaide captain Walker was suspended for six AFL matches and given a $20,000 fine for the comment, which was first reported by a Crows official who overheard it at a quarter-time huddle.
In a short video released by the Crows on Monday evening, Walker sat with Young and choked up several times while delivering the apology.
Young showed support for the 31-year-old by patting him on the shoulder.
"I'm so thankful that you're here, mate, sitting next to me," Walker said.
"Thank you for accepting my apology, you've shown huge courage and support for me.
"I want to apologise to you and your family, to the Adelaide official and his family (and) to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their communities for the pain, hurt and disappointment that I've caused.
"What I said was racism and it's totally unacceptable.
"I've lost trust and respect from everyone and I know that, and I've got work to do."
However, former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes says the video apology is not enough and insists Walker needs to front the media and answer for his actions.
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) August 9, 2021
“I’m not sure who is advising Taylor Walker. His management group, this is why you pay them three per cent of your wage,” Cornes told Footy Classified on Monday evening.
“He needs to front the wider media and answer questions.
“I’m not sure we’ve learnt anything from that video that we didn’t already read in the statement that he apologised (in) on Friday.
“He had to be courageous and front up like his coach did, like his CEO did at the difficult times and speak and answer those questions so we can learn more about this situation and what the next steps are.
“A staged and scripted video that was released by the club at 6.20pm on a Monday night before news deadlines is not going to cut it.”
Others were also critical of the video on social media.
Robbie Young having to console Taylor Walker just baffles me. & now Tex will be leaning on Robbie for support... What!?! https://t.co/r8SrzFS1DY
— Tanisha Stanton (@tanishastanton_) August 9, 2021
the Taylor Walker video apology was already heading down all kinds of uncomfortable, then fell off a cliff completely when he says he’ll lean on Robbie Young to support him. Leaving the false start in on a 90sec pre recorded vid was also weird
— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) August 9, 2021
I have a lot of thoughts about Robbie Young having to comfort Taylor Walker after he was the one who was racially abused by Taylor Walker. 🤯
— Chris De Silva (@cdesilva23) August 9, 2021
The victim consoling the abuser. Indigenous Australians again doing the heavy lifting. How is this still happening? https://t.co/Y4guPFBJWB
— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) August 9, 2021
I just hope you’ll be supporting and thanking Tay-Tay (Taylor Walker) for his heartfelt and overly stage-managed apology. Disgusting
— Graeme (@GraemeN_63) August 9, 2021
Not good enough. How on earth could Taylor Walker not know that this was unacceptable? How could he not understand the degree of hurt after seeing Adam Goodes driven from the game? How could he never have ever listened to his former team mate, Eddie Betts? #racism #disgusting
— Kath Stewart (@Kate2651) August 9, 2021
Taylor Walker's AFL future up in the air
Walker and Young shook hands at the end of the video.
Adelaide granted Walker time off when details of an AFL investigation into the racist comment became public last week.
He was left out of the team to face Port Adelaide in round 21 before his penalty was announced last Friday.
Walker said he will take more time away from the club now "to let people heal".
The Crows' all-time leading goal-kicker is contracted for 2022, but his playing future remains unclear.
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks - who choked back tears after fronting a press conference last Friday to discuss the controversy - could not guarantee Walker will stay with the club beyond this year.
Cornes says he does believe Walker will play for Adelaide again next year in spite of the controversy.
“He’s business partners with Mark Ricciuto, they’re close colleagues, they work together and he’s the most influential figure at the Adelaide Football Club,” he said.
Footy Classified host Craig Hutchison agreed that Walker's video apology achieved little but doubted whether it was possible for him to play at the footy club again.
“I don‘t think that solved things for him at all. It didn’t look in any way like it achieved anything to me. It looked too little, too late,” Hutchinson said.
“As uncomfortable as it was, he had to face the music on day one and throw himself into the lap of the football community.
“He doesn’t get any empathy nor discount for doing that, but he shouldn’t have done it for those reasons either, it was just the right thing to do.
“It’s going to be very hard for him to play at that footy club again … the trust is broken there. Whatever currency he had outside Adelaide I think is gone.”
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