'Proud day': Eddie McGuire responds to bombshell racism report

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire is pictured during a press conference in response to a report into racism allegations at the club.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire fronted the press following the release of a damning report into allegations of racism at the Magpies. Picture: AFL/Collingwood

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has said the release of a damning review into the club’s response to racism within its ranks is a ‘historic and proud day’.

The long-time Magpies president fronted a press conference on Monday afternoon to discuss the leaked 35-page report, which was published by the Herald Sun.

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The review found racism at Collingwood has resulted in "profound and enduring harm" to First Nations and African players which "affected them, their communities, and set dangerous norms for the public".

"While claims of racism have been made across the AFL, there is something distinct and egregious about Collingwood's history," the report says.

McGuire fronted the press alongside CEO Mark Anderson, board member Peter Murphy and fellow director Jodie Sizer, an Indigenous woman who opened proceedings with an acknowledgement of country.

He said the report showed Collingwood was serious about addressing the issues that have plagued them for decades.

“We have spent the last six years in a deep dive into how we can make ourselves better, provide leadership and conversation in the community as only Collingwood can,” McGuire said.

“We have decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination is where we want to be.

“We make mistakes. We learn, we strive to get better.

“We commissioned this report not to pay lip services to a worldwide tragedy, but to lay the foundations for our game, our people and our community.”

Strong response to Collingwood racism review

Sizer described the release of the report and its findings as a ‘landmark day’ for the Magpies, but added that it also showed ‘it is hard being a blackfella and barracking for Collingwood.’

“There is 100 per cent commitment to doing better, and doing the work that needs to be done,” she said.

“I’m proud of our club for having the courage, and our board for accepting the recommendations. It is a landmark day.”

The review found there has been a consistent pattern of Collingwood failing to adequately address incidents when they have arisen.

Eddie McGuire will remain president of Collingwood until after the 2021 AFL season, despite the release of a damning report systemic racism within the club. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Eddie McGuire will remain president of Collingwood until after the 2021 AFL season, despite the release of a damning report systemic racism within the club. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

It also found there was an absence of internal avenues for reporting racism in the club until very recently.

"All of this comes back to the leadership of the Collingwood Football Club -- particularly its board -- and the need for them to set the vision and values of the club and to drive structural change within the organisation," the report says.

The review found there is a "genuine acknowledgement of past failures and a strong desire to do better".

The Collingwood press conference came after Senator Lidia Thorpe, the first Indigenous woman to represent Victoria in federal parliament, called on McGuire to stand down as president immediately.

McGuire announced he would step down as president following the 2021 AFL season.

“As the head of the club, Eddie not only oversaw these issues, he’s been part of the problem,” Thorpe told The Guardian.

“Heritier Lumumba was right to call out these issues, and he paid a huge price for it. Today, he’s been vindicated.”

With AAP

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