In the archival documentary about the controversial last three years of Goodes’ career, comments made by Jones on Channel Seven’s Sunrise had to be voiced by an actor, because Jones declined to give the documentary permission to use the real footage.
Whenever comments by Jones are used in The Final Quarter, viewers see only a still image of the radio show host accompanied by the actor’s voice.
Channel Seven was willing to allow the documentary to use Jones’ footage from Sunrise, but the network told the film’s maker that Jones had to give his permission separately, and Jones would not.
The director of The Final Quarter Ian Darling said: “We were advised by Seven to approach approach Mr Jones separately to ask for his permission, and when we approached him that permission was not forthcoming.”
The Final Quarter have not provided an explanation for why Jones did not give the permission the documentary sought.
Jones features a number of times in the documentary, in which he and a number of conservative commentators criticise Goodes, arguing that he brought the booing on himself. Jones is the only figure in the film that required an actor’s voice and a still image.
Jones has not yet responded to attempts by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald to contact him for a comment.
In the documentary, which will be launched at the Sydney Film Festival on June 7, Jones is highly critical of Goodes. The film is based entirely on material from the time, starting in late 2012 until just after the retirement of Goodes in 2015. There is no subsequent discussion or commentary added to the archival material.
Jones, columnist Andrew Bolt and The Footy Show‘s John “Sam” Newman are the major critics of Goodes, while he is defended fiercely by the Swans, Indigenous journalist Stan Grant, media commentators, some fellow players and AFL figures such as Fremantle coach Ross Lyon, who declared in 2015 that anyone who continued to boo Goodes was “a racist and a bigot”.
In 2015, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan initially said he did not know if the booing was racially motivated, but directly apologised to Goodes some months after the champion’s retirement.
At the launch of the AFL’s recent Indigenous round, McLachlan said the documentary had elicited an “emotional response” among those who had seen it. “It’s a very powerful film,” he said.
As shown in the documentary, Newman also castigates Goodes for “acting like a jerk” and suggests the champion is creating divisions over his stance against racism.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s brushes with Goodes – including the King Kong comment on Triple M that ended the friendship between he and Goodes – feature heavily in the documentary. He has described the film as “heartbreaking”.
Most AFL clubs have seen the documentary, which club executives described as “confronting”, and many figures within the game have acknowledged since viewing it that they should have done more to speak out on behalf of Goodes and against the booing that dogged him to the end, even after he stopped out of the game in distress late in 2015. Some Indigenous players such as Hawk Shaun Burgoyne have told fellow players they should have done more in support of Goodes.
The documentary – the first of two focused on Goodes, with the second involving Grant to be released in Melbourne soon – will be offered to all schools and sporting clubs in Australia, and Darling said any proceeds would be donated to non-profit community organisations.
Goodes supported the documentary but did not participate in making it, while the singer Paul Kelly wrote a song for it about Goodes and his mother Lisa, Every Day My Mother’s Voice.
Goodes said in a statement that “as confronting as I have found the film, I look forward to the conversation it will help generate”.
Darling said he had wanted to know “why and how Goodes had come to be at the centre of this storm that had led to such heated debate and divided the nation”.
Jake Niall is a Walkley award-winning sports journalist and chief AFL writer for The Age.