Race report slams 'toxic' culture at Aussie Rules club

Eddie McGuire

Download the Do Better report here.

"Over the course of an hour, we answered every question, but in my opening I got it wrong", he said at Collingwood's annual general meeting on Tuesday night.

The football heavyweight also said he was disappointed in Collingwood president Eddie McGuire's attempts to frame the review as a "proud day" for Collingwood.

"We had a conversation that's confidential but I wanted to understand what he meant". It's been interpreted widely that way, and I regret that deeply.

"It was not a proud day".

Bizarrely, McGuire began the press conference by declaring Monday was an "historic and proud day" for Collingwood. "I said it was a proud day, and I shouldn't have".

"While claims of racism have been made across the AFL, there is something distinct and egregious about Collingwood's history", the report said.

On Tuesday, McGuire said the club was apologetic, humbled and galvanised to dismantle any structures of systemic racism at the organisation.

Lumumba chose not to participate in the club-commissioned review but the "Do Better" report's authors said there needed to be a serious investigation into his claims. "It needs to be a whole-of-club approach, and frankly, a whole-of-industry approach", McLachlan said.

"It was clear to me that he was looking forward and he was "proud" that they were addressing their past and (accepting) a series of recommendations to take them forward that are endorsed by the board". I thought that it was more sobering and confronting.

"I would have articulated things differently", McLachlan said.

The 223-game AFL player said he was exhausted of explaining his experiences to Collingwood people and being met with "defensiveness".

An independent investigation - commissioned by the club's board previous year after consistent and long-standing allegations from Lumumba - found Collingwood guilty of a toxic culture of racism. "We're not a racist club".

Héretier Lamumba
The racism directed at Héretier Lamumba while he was at Collingwood was the catalyst for the Do Better report

Instead, Lumumba found out the contents of the report this week, through the media.

It also said: "The racism affected them, their communities, and set unsafe norms for the public".

Lumumba said he was ostracised by his coaches and teammates for criticising Mr McGuire's comments.

The report found racism at Collingwood had resulted in "profound and enduring harm" to First Nations and African players and the club's response had been "at best ineffective or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents".

"As if they were talking about spilling tea on a couch rather than being found guilty of years of systemic racism".

"There is a gap between what Collingwood Football Club says it stands for and what it does".

In response to the report's leak, Collingwood Board Members Djab Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman Jodie Sizer, Peter Murphy, and Club President Eddie McGuire fronted the media at a press conference on Monday.

"It is now time for Collingwood to meet the moment."
"The club was in disgrace yesterday", Mitchell said.

Eddie McGuire during Monday's press conference.

Lumumba is suing Collingwood for allegedly dismissing his claims of racism and breaching their duty of care. A number of those incidents have been very highly publicised.

Club president Eddie McGuire apologised to Goodes for the fan's abuse, but then days later drew condemnation himself when he joked on radio that Goodes might be used to promote a King Kong musical.

"That implementation will be in place for some time and will require the leadership of many people". Another request to view the report was made to the club in early January.

"The club is also going to set up an expert panel on anti-racism and I would imagine that a group like that would be advising the club on how to work through the opportunity for reparations, remedies, apologies, and anything of that nature".


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