Eddie McGuire's 'heart breaks' over Collingwood racism twist

·4-min read
Pictured right is Eddie McGuire alongside a photo of former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba.
Eddie McGuire (R) says it breaks his heart to see Heritier Lumumba and two other former Collingwood players severe ties with the club. Pic: Getty/Ch9

Eddie McGuire says he "would do anything" to mend the seemingly irreparable relationship between his beloved club and three of its former players.

Former defender and premiership player Heritier Lumumba revealed on Wednesday that he and fellow Pies players Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer, were "officially terminating all communications" with Collingwood over its response to a highly publicised racism report on the club.

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The three players are dissatisfied with the Magpies' response to last year's report that showed systemic racism was rife at the club.

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

He 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.

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".

Although a review from Jumbunna Institute on the Do Better report suggested that Collingwood had made significant progress on the issues around racism, Lumumba claimed that "nothing has changed" at the club over the last 15 months.

Heritier Lumumba, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer have cut ties with Collingwood over the club's response to systemic racism. Pictures: Getty
Heritier Lumumba, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer have cut ties with Collingwood over the club's response to systemic racism. Pictures: Getty

When asked on Channel 9’s Footy Classified if he would try and reach out to any of he past players, McGuire replied: “I have over the journey, but I‘m out of Collingwood now.

“If I can help at all, and certainly with these three champions — all of them have been close friends that I’ve looked after over the years — of course, I would do anything possible to try and help everyone get to a position.

“Of course, that’s what we do. Our hearts break when we see these things.”

McGuire said he wasn't surprised to hear Collingwood icons Davis and Krakouer had joined Lumumba in boycotting the club, but insisted that the Pies were taking significant steps to address the issues around racism.

Eddie McGuire insists Collingwood has implemented change

“It doesn‘t surprise me (that Davis and Krakouer had also cut ties with the club) because I know there’s been discussions, and I had them when I was still the president,” McGuire added.

“The Do Better’ report was a deep dive... there’s been a 12-month review of that. They said there was systematic issues — that there was a system breakdown.

“Now Collingwood is the only club that has a 15-person multicultural task force that is there. Jodie Sizer is the vice-president of the club, she was involved in the reconciliation action plan before she came onto the board, and is now the vice-president. I think there are a lot of things there.

“I hope these three greats of the club come back to the club and have a truth-telling session, and get to a resolution. That‘s what everyone wants.

“Everyone wants this to be resolved and to move forward and do things. Not to move away because that‘s the easy thing to say.”

Lumumba insisted in his firmly worded social media post on Wednesday that the Collingwood club's efforts to implement change amounted to very little.

"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."

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