AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has described the release of a report outlining decades of systemic racism at the Collingwood Football Club as ‘sobering and confronting’.
The football heavyweight also said he was disappointed in Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s attempts to frame the review as a ‘proud day’ for Collingwood.
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McLachlan fronted a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the bombshell report into the Magpies’ response to incidents of racism at the club, which was largely prompted by calls for accountability from former defender Heritier Lumumba, who played 199 games for the club starting in the late 2000s.
“I would have articulated things differently and I think Ed understands that position and probably agrees with that,” McLachlan told reporters on Tuesday.
“I would have used a different word, I thought it was more sobering and confronting. It was a general conversation, maybe I did talk to that word, yes.
“We had a conversation that’s confidential but I wanted to understand what he meant.
“It was clear to me that he was looking forward and he was ‘proud’ that they were addressing their past and (accepting) a series of recommendations to take them forward that are endorsed by the board.
“He needs to talk (for himself). I’m answering your questions honestly - we had a conversation and explored that and I was pretty up front that I wanted to understand that word, because it’s not the word I would have used.”
McGuire fronted a press conference on Monday after the report, which was delivered to the club in December, was leaked to the Herald Sun.
Lumumba chose not to participate in the club-commissioned review but the 'Do Better' report's authors said there needed to be a serious investigation into his claims.
The 223-game AFL player said he was tired of explaining his experiences to Collingwood people and being met with "defensiveness".
Lumumba calls Magpies response 'cowardice'
Heritier Lumumba has labelled Collingwood's response to a damning report that uncovered systemic racism at the AFL club as "cowardice" and "delusional".
An independent investigation - commissioned by the club's board last year after consistent and long-standing allegations from Lumumba - found Collingwood guilty of a toxic culture of racism.
Lumumba, who starred in the Magpies' last premiership in 2010, feels vindicated by the findings of the report after first raising the alarm on concerns at Collingwood in 2013.
But the 34-year-old believes Collingwood have learned nothing from the scandal after watching president Eddie McGuire at a club press conference on Monday addressing the findings.
McGuire opened the conference with a statement describing the release of the report as a "day of pride" and claimed the club was not racist.
"What I saw was a clear case of cowardice," Lumumba told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.
"It was a clear case of a football club that is delusional.
"If that's the way Collingwood wants to address (the release of) an independent report, that it did not want out there.
"I have been asking Collingwood football club since late last year when I knew they had the report, I have been asking them for it, but it was not given to me.
"It was actually sad I had to receive that from media sources."
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