An independent report into racism at Collingwood FC, commissioned by the club, has found a toxic culture that has caused lasting harm to Indigenous and African players.
The ‘Do Better’ review, which the ABC reports was leaked today, found evidence of “systemic racism” within the AFL club. It comes months after the 2010 premiership player, Heritier Lumumba, said he had been subject to racist abuse while playing.
Lumumba was not a part of the 35-page document, which found a culture of racism had “resulted in profound and enduring harm to First Nations and African players”.
According to the ABC, the Collingwood board received the report more than a month ago. Days later, president Eddie McGuire announced he would step down from the role at the end of 2021.
He said his remaining time at the helm would be to setup “a new era of Collingwood”, which would include significant landmark initiatives in the area of equality and the fight against racism at the club.
The review was conducted by UTS’ director of the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, and colleague Professor Lindon Coombes.
It cited widespread evidence on the public record, conversations with staff, players, ex-players and supporters, who found Collingwood’s response to racist incidents was “at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents”, the ABC reports.
In addition, there emerged a sense that “dealing with racism was something that could be done when other things had been taken care of”, the review reportedly shows.
The review recommended an audit of the Collingwood board, as well, to reportedly ensure the “personal views” of its members were “consistent with the values of the Club”.
“There is a gap between what Collingwood Football Club says it stands for and what it does,” the report reads, via SBS News.
“While claims of racism have been made across the AFL, there is something distinct and egregious about Collingwood’s history.”
Furthermore, the authors of the report reportedly found Collingwood had become “synonymous with off-field and on-field racism in Australian sport”. They criticised the club’s leadership for its “guns pointing out” approach to dealing with complaints.
“This has also meant that Collingwood’s response has often been perceived as one where claims of racism are dealt with in terms of damage control and protecting the brand, rather than seeking to address issues and make change,” the report reads, via SBS News.
Featured image source: YouTube/Collingwood Football Club
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