The Collingwood Football Club has a problem with systemic racism, according to an independent review.
The club commissioned the review, which was leaked to the media today.
Collingwood guilty of systemic racism
The report described Collingwood’s history with racism as “distinct and egregious”.
It also said the the club’s leadership, “particularly its board”, needed to lead structural change.
The review also noted a culture of individuals “having an unhealthy degree of influence over Club culture”.
The club has had the report for over a month, but it was only leaked today.
While not named, long-time high profile club president Eddie McGuire announced days after receiving the review that he will step down at the end of the 2021 season.
Professor Larissa Behrendt , a director of the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at UTS, conducted the “Do Better” review.
Colleague, Professor Lindon Coombes, assisted.
The pair looked at evidence on the public record, in addition to interviewing staff, players, ex-players and supporters.
The review described Collingwood’s response to racist incidents “at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents”.
It also found:
- There is a gap between what the club says it stands for, and what it actually does;
- The club will react to media coverage about a racist incident but not complaints made within the club;
- Collingwood’s response to racist incidents are dealt with in terms of damage control and protecting the brand; and
- Those who have raised issues felt they paid a high price for speaking out.
The review made 18 recommendations, including an audit of the Board to ensure the “personal views” of its members are “consistent with the values of the Club”.
McGuire has previously apologised for making offensive racist remarks while commentating on AFL matches.
The investigators also found Collingwood lacks clear policies addressing racism.
As a result, it can’t deal with allegations in the same way it can with other issues.
Sexual misconduct, drug-taking or poor behaviour in public are all penalised by the club, however, racism is not held to the same standards.
The review came about as a result of former player Heritier Lumumba speaking out about racism.
He said a lack of “anti-racist policies” allowed a culture of discrimination to fester within the Collingwood Football Club, leading to racist jokes and comments.
He claimed other players would refer to him as “chimp”.
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