Eddie McGuire makes explosive return to TV after Collingwood exit

Eddie McGuire and Caroline Wilson, pictured here on Footy Classified.
Eddie McGuire addressed his exit from Collingwood with co-host Caroline Wilson. Image: Footy Classified

Eddie McGuire has addressed his controversial exit from Collingwood as he returned to TV on Footy Classified on Wednesday night.

Speaking publicly for the first time since stepping down as Collingwood president last month, McGuire opened up about his response to findings of 'systemic racism' at the AFL club.

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The 56-year-old was widely criticised for describing the findings as a "historic and proud day" for Collingwood, falling on his sword a few days later as calls mounted for his resignation.

McGuire addressed the scandal on Wednesday night, suggesting the infamous “proud day” comment was supported by Collingwood director and Djap Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman Jodie Sizer.

“When I spoke with the other directors before we went out, Jodie Sizer was very strong on the fact that we should take hold of this and be proud of where we’re going,” he said.

“I’m not laying any blame to anybody and please don’t think (that) when I said Jodie Sizer before, I wrote the thing, I said what I said."

McGuire said he wouldn't "rat" on his former colleagues after being asked by co-host Caroline Wilson if senior board members Paul Licuria and Peter Murphy had “turned on” him.

“I’m not answering any questions on that,” he said. “I’m not on a witch hunt.”

"The last thing I’m ever going to be is a rat on people at the Collingwood Football Club.

“I’m going to go and barrack for the ‘Pies, I’m a Pie till I die. I love the club and I love AFL football, and I want everything to do well.

“I’m not one of those people that walks away hoping there will be schadenfreude and everything falls on its head, quite the opposite.”

McGuire confirmed reports he has been struggling emotionally since his exit from the club.

“Of course I was sad,” he said.

“I was really, really sad and it affected me greatly, but I’m OK because you get up, you dust yourself off and you go again.

“It was the hardest day of my life outside of personal tragedies.

“It was something that meant so much to me. It was the right thing to do, I accepted the responsibility.”

The 56-year-old was reportedly only confirmed to appear on Footy Classified on Wednesday night at the very last minute.

His commentary commitments with Fox Footy have not been publicly confirmed for this weekend.

Eddie McGuire, pictured here announcing his resignation as Collingwood president.
Eddie McGuire speaks the media as he announces his resignation as Collingwood president. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

Collingwood working to address racism scandal

Meanwhile, Nathan Buckley insists Collingwood are working hard to avoid a repeat of the racist incidents that have blighted the AFL club and admits he found details of past players' experiences of racism "confronting".

Former AFL forward Andrew Krakouer this month detailed a racist incident during his time at the Magpies, which included hearing the word "b**ng" being used by teammates.

Krakouer's experience added to those aired by Leon Davis and Heritier Lumumba, and followed the leaked 'Do Better' report, which rocked Collingwood over the summer.

Buckley, who addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of round one, said he has taken time to reflect on the issues that have arisen and vowed to help the club improve its approach to dealing with racism.

"One of the things that you need to consider ... is becoming more conscious of that reality and more open-minded and open-hearted to being challenged by it," Buckley said.

"It hasn't been a period we have breezed through, clearly.

"So whatever the public front or facade of it is, and the challenge that comes through the media ... the reality is how we feel in here.

"It is confronting to know that people you love and respect so much have felt that way."

with AAP

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