Collingwood president Eddie McGuire responds to bombshell racism report
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire responds to bombshell racism report

Eddie's heartbreak: 'We're not a racist club'

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says he will not stand down after an explosive report into racism at the club.

Eddie McGuire, CEO Mark Anderson and members of the club's Integrity Committee Peter Murphy and Jodie Sizer spoke today after the 35-page report was leaked to the Herald Sun.

McGuire declared it a "proud day" for the Magpies.

"This is an area fraught with danger and recriminations. We decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination of all types is where we want to be. We want to put in place not just good intentions but time effort and resources to achieve our goals," McGuire said.

"We make mistakes, we learn, we strive to be better."

He said the issue of racism was bigger than Collingwood and bigger than football.

"This is a play for humanity ... We can only try our best. It's as simple as that."

Collingwood President Eddie McGuire speaks to the media.
Collingwood President Eddie McGuire speaks to the media.

McGuire said the report wasn't about any individual players but Heritier Lumumba had been approached and declined to be part of the process. The former Magpies and Melbourne defender has claimed he was subjected to racism in his time at the club, and says the Pies did not take his allegations seriously.

"We want to engage with Heritier, he's one of our guys - he doesn't feel that way at the moment and it breaks our hearts.

"We're not a mean-spirited club, we're not a racist club, we're a club that tries to do well."

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league had received the report today and "will now formally review the information and recommendations".

"In commissioning an independent report, the Collingwood Football Club acknowledged it needed to take a different approach, a stronger direction when it comes to its processes of dealing with racism and ensured they recognised the seriousness of racism," he said in a statement.

"The mistakes of the past show that racism in any form or on any level is a serious issue and should not be interpreted in any other way. This report is an important step in the change Collingwood is implementing and demonstrates the seriousness in which the club takes the issue."

McGUIRE ON HIS OWN LEGACY

"What's happened on my watch is this - we have commissioned this report, we have built all sorts of mechanisms to get involved in the community to looking after the homeless, many other aspects of life, and it stands absolutely head and shoulders above other organisations.

"There were plenty of things you look back on and say, 'Yes, we could have done that better', that's the same in any walk of life.

"At the time we did them as well as we thought we could, we just didn't have the processes in place.

"What's happened on my watch is we've built a fantastic club, we've commissioned this report, we've built all sorts of mechanisms for getting involved in the community … we look back and say, in 2021, what is it we need to do?

"It was not systemic racism, as such, we just didn't have the processes to deal with it that we do now."

Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson, President Eddie McGuire, Collingwood Integrity Committee members Jodie Sizer and Peter Murphy speak to the media.
Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson, President Eddie McGuire, Collingwood Integrity Committee members Jodie Sizer and Peter Murphy speak to the media.

McGUIRE ON HIS PRIDE TODAY

"This is a historic and proud day for the Collingwood Football Club. Today we embrace a leadership position on the most fundamental of rights - equality.

"We commissioned this report not to pay lip services to a worldwide tragedy, but to lay the foundations for our game, our people and our community.

"This is an area fraught with danger and recriminations. We decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination of all types is where we want to be. We want to put in place not just good intentions but time effort and resources to achieve our goals.

"We make mistakes, we learn, we strive to be better. But … we will continue to be a leading light in our community.

"We have decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination of all types is where we want to be.

"I am extremely proud. I've been here for a long time and we've done a lot of great things. And this is great. We want to do things that are good here.

"Part of what we wanted to do was find out what people who had nothing to do with us thought about football and thought about us … it was a report to find out where we are and where we position ourselves.

"That's what the whole Black Lives Matter lesson has been, certainly for me ... sometimes you just don't get it until you actually get it, and that's what we wanted to find out."

 

 

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Heritier Lumumba while playing for Collingwood in 2014. Picture: Michael Klein
Heritier Lumumba while playing for Collingwood in 2014. Picture: Michael Klein

ON HERITIER LUMUMBA

"Heritier was encouraged and asked to be part of this inquiry. It's his prerogative not to. There's been no individual deep dive into any particular situation. It's before the courts and we have no further comment.

"I spoke to a couple of the players today in the gym and they're delighted with where this is going.

"We want to engage with Heritier, he's one of our guys - he doesn't feel that way at the moment and it breaks our hearts.

"We're not a mean-spirited club, we're not a racist club, we're a club that tries to do well."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Eddie's heartbreak: 'We're not a racist club'