Sydney Swans' Adam Goodes racially abused
Sydney's Adam Goodes has been widely praised for the dignity he displayed after being called an ape during Friday night's AFL game against Collingwood at the MCG.
He was abused by a 13-year-old girl who later called the dual Brownlow medallist to apologise for her behaviour.
Earlier, while admitting he had never been more hurt, Goodes reached out to the girl to contact him so he could explain his feelings.
His actions, including refusing to blame the girl and calling for abuse on social media against her to stop, have drawn widespread admiration from players, clubs and community leaders.
After he spoke out on Saturday morning, Goodes tweeted that he had spoken to the girl and urged that she be given support, not attacked on social media.
"Just received a phone call from a young girl apologizing (sic) for her actions. Let's support her please," Goodes tweeted.
Goodes said he was devastated by the abuse which came during the first match of the AFL's highly publicised Indigenous round.
"I'm pretty gutted to be honest," Goodes said.
"The win, the first of its kind in 13 years, to win by 47 points against Collingwood and (for me) to play such a pivotal role just sort of means nothing.
"To come to the boundary line and to hear a 13-year-old girl call me an ape it was shattering."
However Goodes said that the blame did not lie with the young girl.
"She's 13-years-old, still so innocent, I don't put any blame on her," he said.
"Unfortunately it's what she hears and the environment that she's grown up in has made her think that it's OK to call people names.
"Unfortunately it cut me deep and affected me so much that I couldn't even be on the ground last night to celebrate a victory and to celebrate the Indigenous round."
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has offered the girl and her parents support and education from the league.
"The AFL stands ready to provide help, education and appropriate counselling to her and we invite her parents to make contact with us to allow for this to happen in a confidential setting," he said.
Demetriou said the AFL, while disappointed, would not seek any sanctions, while Goodes himself told police he did not want to press any charges against the girl.
But he said Goodes' reaction to the incident was admirable.
"Discrimination and vilification in any form has no place in our game and Adam Goodes has again demonstrated his leadership qualities by standing up to it," said Demetriou.
"He is a wonderful ambassador for our game and an inspiring leader for the indigenous community.
"At the same time, the AFL community immediately rallied behind him in an extraordinary but not surprising display of support and solidarity.
Victorian Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said Goodes had displayed great leadership.
"Can I just say how impressive and how absolutely courageous Adam Goodes has been today," he said.
"He is a person of class someone who has handled the racial abuse that he was subjected to last night with great dignity."
Players reacted angrily, with Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt saying he was "Speechless and really flat."
Geelong captain Joel Selwood and Cats teammate Allen Christensen agreed while West Coast star Nic Naitanui tweeted: "Not to assume the worst, but to disrespect a legend on Indigenous Round is appalling. Shameful she's only young too."