Sydney Swans legend Adam Goodes has opened up on the racism row that engulfed his final days in the game - but insists he left the sport on his own terms and wasn't bullied out.
But on Ahn's Brush with Fame show on ABC TV tonight, the 38 year old admits the toxic environment – where he was repeatedly booed and jeered at matches and on talkback radio – has soured the memories of his career.
"The last two years of my career are so fresh and affect my perception of AFL to this day," he tells Anh.
And he admits the final time he took to the pitch was actually a relief to escape the furore that was surrounding him at the time.
"The last two years of my career are so fresh and affect my perception of AFL to this day." - Adam Goodes opens up to Anh about his decision to retire from AFL. #AnhsBrushWithFame - Tonight at 8pm. pic.twitter.com/agiuaTM1kl— ABC TV Australia (@ABCTV) July 31, 2018
"I knew it was my last game, none of my teammates did," he reveals. "When I actually told the boys in the change room I was relieved.
"I was relieved that I didn't have to go back into that environment."
He added: "I don't feel like I was bullied out the game.
"It was is my choice. I wasn't pushed out the door. Injuries weren't the reason why I retired. I retired on my own terms.
"I'm an old man in that industry now..."
Now he wants to address the issues that split the nation every time he played – but in his own way.
"It's definitely not a burden because I'm putting my hand up and saying I want to do something about it," he said. "I want to be part of the solution
"I don't think I'm a bad bloke. I don't just go out there every single day beating my chest about racism because that's a tough issue. I've dealt with it. It's hard to talk about.
"We deal with it every day as indigenous people. Ask any minority in this country – they've got stories of racism themselves. It's there, it's alive.
"It happens but let's be part of the process that's helping change that. Let's keep having the conversations because when you're part of the conversations and you're wanting to do something about it, there's hope, there's a way forward."