Walker dodges key question in racism scandal

4 weeks ago 16
PR Distribution

By Ben Glover and Melanie Dinjaski

Taylor Walker has left a cloud hanging over his playing future as he finally addressed the media about the racial slur that's left his reputation in tatters.

More than two weeks after releasing a video apology that was widely criticised, Walker acknowledged there'd been "frustration" that he chose a stage-managed apology, seated alongside victim of the racial abuse, Robbie Young, but backed the conciliation process that had been laid out and followed.

Taylor Walker of the Adelaide Crows (Nine)

He repeated much of what he'd said in that video, apologising to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the "pain" he'd caused but was evasive when asked if there had been other times he had made racist remarks in the past.

Asked directly if he had "used that type of language prior to this incident", Walker replied: "I'm deeply remorseful for what I said and hopefully everyone here today and the people in the world understand the kind of person I am. I'm ashamed of what I said and I've got some work to do so please judge me for what I do from here on in."

He dodged the question again later in the press conference, and simply said: "I'm just ashamed that what I said has caused so much pain."

Walker's teary apology to Young

Walker admitted he still had plenty of work to do to repair relationships with his indigenous teammates at the Crows, saying: "The four Indigenous boys, they were really open and honest with me and I'm thankful for that because it's going to help me going forward and understanding the pain I've caused them and their community. And that's what I wanted, I wanted them to be open and honest and they were."

"They were just as open and honest as they could be and it's now up to me to repair that relationship and reconcile and get some more education for myself because clearly I'm not at the level," he added.

"I apologised and they accepted it."

Eddie Betts speaks on racism amid the Taylor Walker incident

Walker conceded that his footy career was not his focus until he was able to fix the damage he'd caused, however he expressed his interest in attending the club's best and fairest night on Saturday, if he is permitted to by the Crows.

"To me at the moment, playing is not my priority. Repairing the relationships with the people I've hurt is my main priority," he said.

"It's up to me to get to work and do the things I said before.

"I'm not here to talk about myself and my future, it's about what I do from here on in as a person, I've got some work to do and I'll put my hand up and I'll own this and I'm going to go to work and do the best I can.

"I've spoken to a few players and they've said if the time comes to that we'll get to that as it comes."

Walker added that he had spoken to his former Crows teammate Eddie Betts who voiced his disappointment and hurt on Fox Footy's AFL360 after the investigation into Walker's racist remark went public.

"I've spoken to Eddie [Betts] and we had a great conversation and, like I said, I've caused so much hurt to people like that and I just can't say how sorry I am," Walker said.

Cornes questions Walker's video apology

Walker became emotional as he explained that his actions had also let his family down and that he had worked hard to process his initial, disappointing reaction, which he described as panic, denial and fear.

"When I was first pushed on this I was in denial. I panicked and I was scared and I thought about myself," he said.

"I let time go and I said to myself 'This is not about me, it's about Robbie and the Adelaide officials and the pain I've caused them', and that's when I said I'm coming forward to own this and I'll get better for it.

"What I meant by that is I need some education and I probably misused the words, but what I meant was 'I need some education' and he expressed that he was willing to help in that area.

"I hope that I'm not remembered for one remark and people that know me will understand the person that I am."

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