In the last two days, I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to my story, and want to thank everyone who has sent me kind wishes. I appreciate it greatly, because for most of my life people have not understood the difficulties I’ve faced because of racism and trauma.

Although the recognition of the St Kilda Football Club and the AFL community has made me feel more valued, and I look forward to forming an ongoing relationship with them, for the time being I would appreciate some space. I need time to process my feelings and adjust to the world knowing about my difficulties.

My first priorities are my family and my mental health. I ask that people respect my privacy and avoid making personal contact for now. I would like to make note of the many former teammates and opponents who have tried to get in touch, and assure them that a time will come when we can reconnect.

When things settle down, I would love nothing more than for fans to say hello when they see me. But for now, I’d like to relax and get back to normal for a while. If anyone with a personal connection to me wants to get in touch, they can do so by emailing the St Kilda Football Club at: Robert.Muir@saints.com.au

St Kilda will collect those messages and pass them on to me when I am ready to read them.

Although I have suffered greatly because of my involvement in the game, my love for football and for St Kilda remains. I missed out on the support I needed when I played, but I am glad it is being offered now. I’m also pleased that the many brilliant Indigenous footballers currently playing the game are finally getting the support they require.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made a huge contribution to AFL football. All we ask for in return is respect.