'Nothing has changed': Ex-Magpies trio cut ties over racism report

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Heritier Lumumba and Leon Davis want nothing more to do with the Collingwood Football Club.
Heritier Lumumba, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer have cut ties to Collingwood after growing dissatisfaction with the club's reponse to a report into systemic racism. Pictures: Getty Images

Three former Collingwood stars have announced they are cutting all ties to the club, dissatisfied with the Magpies' response to last year's report into system racism with its walls.

The 'Do Better' report that was commissioned by Collingwood and handed down in early 2021 lead to the demise of long-time club president Eddie McGuire.

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McGuire and the Collingwood board were fiercely criticised in the report for failing to take seriously the complaints of black and Indigenous players, who felt their reports of racist comments from staff and teammates fell on deaf ears.

Former defender and premiership player Heritier Lumumba has long raised complaints about his treatment at Collingwood, earning the support of fellow club great Leon Davis and ex-forward Andrew Krakouer.

The Magpies vowed to implement all 18 recommendations from the 'Do Better' report, including developing a strategy "to address and reconcile past acts of racism".

However Lumumba says the club's efforts to implement change have amounted to little.

In a firmly worded post on Twitter, Lumumba said the trio of players were profoundly disappointed with the lack of progress Collingwood had shown.

"After 15 months of dialogue to address past incidents of racism at the Collingwood Football Club, Leon Davis, Andrew Krakouer and I have formally notified the club that we are officially terminating all communications with CFC," Lumumba posted on Twitter.

"Nothing has changed. It is our firm belief that the Collingwood Football Club has no intention of acting in good faith to achieve a just outcome for past players who have experienced racism at the Club."

The Magpies last month released a 12-month review into their progress in fulfilling the 18 recommendations of the report.

The review noted the club had made "significant and genuine progress" on many of the 18 recommendations laid out.

Collingwood still working on response to report after upheaval

The release of the 'Do Better' report was a moment of intense upheaval for the Magpies as they entered a season that proved to be as challenging on-field as it was off.

Former club president Eddie McGuire came under heavy scrutiny in the media after his response to findings of "systemic racism" at the club.

McGuire, who was set to walk away as the club's leader at year's end, fronted the media to speak about the findings and copped widespread backlash after describing it as a "proud day" for the club.

He later backtracked on his comments, admitting he "was wrong" at a Collingwood annual general meeting in the days following.

Many disgusted observers noted that McGuire never once used the term 'sorry' throughout the entirety of the press conference, which last more than one hour.

In an open letter on behalf of "150 footballers and netballers" at the club sent later that week, Collingwood went some way to rectifying the situation.

Eddie McGuire gave up the Collingwood Magpies presidency in the wake of the 'Do Better' report's release.
Eddie McGuire stepped down as Collingwood president back in February last year after the release of the 'Do Better' report. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

"Sorry. As athletes we are sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race," the letter read.

"Through our silence we feel responsible for these injustices. We acknowledge it is not enough to simply show support for the principles of anti-racism and inclusion. We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together.

"Over the last 72 hours we have had the opportunity to digest the DO BETTER report. We also apologise to those members, fans and community who feel guilt and shame as a result of the systemic racism that has occurred within our organisation.

"To all the young people who dream about one day pulling on the black and white stripes, we pledge as athletes to continue to help create a club that allows ALL of us to thrive, regardless of race.

"Faithfully. This letter is endorsed and supported fully by the 120 staff of Collingwood."

With AAP

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