After retiring in 2015, Goodes is now eligible for for induction and was unanimously nominated by the hall of fame committee, but denied the offer.
Across 17 seasons Goodes won two premierships, two Brownlow Medals and briefly held the record of most VFL/AFL games played by an Indigenous player, which was surpassed by Hawthorn's Shaun Burgoyne in 2019.
Goodes' final years in the game were marred by incidents of racially motivated booing and vitriol. The infamous booing incidents came after Goodes, at a game against Collingwood in Indigenous Round in 2013, called out a 13-year-old fan who had yelled a racial slur from the stands.
After the repeated booing incidents in 2015, often spurred on by members of the media, Goodes took a short break from the game before returning and playing for the remainder of the season.
The 41-year-old declined the invitation to complete a lap of the MCG on Grand Final Day, an opportunity offered to all retiring players.
How about the one-hander from Adam Goodes?
— AFL (@AFL) May 22, 2020
Speaking on SEN, co-host and Hall of Fame member Tim Watson said that he was surprised Goodes knocked back the honour.
“I was surprised that he'd rejected it ... he's been retired for five years, I thought in that five years there might have been that repatriation that had taken place,” Watson said.
“The damage that occurred at that time, I thought it might have eased on him mentally and he might have been able to repair some of those bridges between himself and the game and feel differently about his time and then just appreciated all the great things about the game that were delivered to him, that he earned for himself.
“We always say time is a great healer, I just thought that the time may have healed all those differences. Clearly, it hasn't.
“It's his right, it's his entitlement not to accept an induction if that's the way that he feels. I'm saddened by all that though. I'm sad that it cut him so deeply that five years on, he still feels like he doesn't have a place in AFL football.”
In 2019 on the eve of the premiere of documentary The Final Quarter that detailed the final stages of Goodes' career, all 18 clubs and the AFL issued a joint formal apology over the events that "drove him from football".
"Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him, and call it out. Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present." the apology read.
"We are unified on this, and never want to see the mistakes of the past repeated."
AFL Commission Chair Richard Goyder today said, ‘We hope that there will be a time in the future when Adam will want to be connected to the game again. This is a decision for Adam and Adam only and we understand and respect his choice.
“The treatment of Adam in his final years at AFL level drove him from football. The AFL and our game did not do enough to stand with him at the time, and call it out.
“The unreserved apology that the game provided him in 2019 was too late, but, on behalf of our Commission and the AFL, I apologise unreservedly again for our failures during this period.
“Adam remains a great champion and leader of our game who has given more to our sport than he received in return."
The 2021 AFL Hall of Fame induction event was set to be held on June 22, however the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria has led to it's postponement. Goyder said Goodes had requested his refusal to attend not be made public until after the event.
“Adam had asked the AFL to wait before announcing his decision, which has now been made public separately,” Mr Goyder said.
“Adam was clear he did not want his decision to detract from the moment for the 2021 inductees."