Clarkson unloads on Hawthorn, panel over racism saga

·3-min read

Alastair Clarkson has called for Hawthorn to be investigated over their "shameful" handling of the long-running racism saga, saying reputations have been "scarred".

The North Melbourne coach has responded explosively after panel chairman Bernard Quinn KC released some details of the process to the media on Wednesday night.

A fuming Clarkson has slammed Quinn and authorities at Hawthorn, describing the sport as a "victim" for the investigation dragging on since allegations became public last September.

Clarkson, arguably the greatest coach in Hawthorn's history as a four-time premiership winner, Chris Fagan and Jason Burt have been named as figures involved in an alleged episode of racism during their time with the club.

All deny any wrongdoing.

The three men are yet to be given an official right to respond to the damning allegations, even during the initial review conducted at Hawthorn by Phil Egan.

"It's just extraordinary that we've waited eight months, the game is the victim of this," Clarkson said at Arden St on Thursday.

"The game has been shamed, obviously myself, Fages and Jason, our families have been shamed.

"The Indigenous and First Nations families, they've been shamed.

"And there's one particular party out there that was the catalyst for all this that haven't been investigated at all; their governance and conduct in this whole thing, the Hawthorn Football Club, just shameful.

"Let's do an investigation on them and their practices and see how they go."

Clarkson questioned why Quinn, who chairs the panel commissioned by the AFL to investigate the bombshell claims, released details to the media.

The AFL initially hoped the independent investigation would report its findings last December but Quinn gave no indication in his statement when that might happen.

"The guy (Quinn) who actually establishes the protocol around confidentiality actually breaches," Clarkson said.

"The damage is done, reputations have been scarred and we've got to somehow just claw our reputations back through this whole process.

"And all we want is a fair platform to be able to do that.

"Once we get that opportunity then we'll let the judge decide.

"That will either be a court of law or the court of public opinion.

"We've waited for eight months to get some sort of process going in terms of what you call procedural fairness in terms of the legal game, and the procedural fairness offered to myself, Fages and Jason has been next to zero and that's particularly frustrating."

Quinn stressed no conditions had been placed on mediation, contrary to media reports over the weekend.

Those reports prompted Fagan, who is coaching the Brisbane Lions, to release a statement on Sunday saying he would only agree to mediation "in good faith".

Clarkson did not indicate if he wished to participate in any proposed mediation.

"All these events that happen, just makes it a circus," Clarkson said.

"Someone just needs to cut through it all and just take ownership of the whole process, whether that's from within the Hawthorn Football Club or the AFL.

"Someone from either one of those two bodies needs to take ownership of just what's happened in terms of the governance and conduct of this whole process and allow us the fair opportunity to be able to tell our story."

Hawthorn responded to Clarkson's claims, saying the club is cooperating with the AFL and independent panel.

"We completely understand that this process, and the speed at which it has been conducted, has been frustrating for everyone involved," a club spokesperson told AAP.

"We, like everyone, want to see this matter resolved fairly and quickly in the best interests of all.

"At every step of this process the club has complied with our obligations under AFL integrity rules and confidentiality arrangements."

Clarkson coached Hawthorn from 2005 to 2021 before exiting amid a messy coaching handover to one of his former star players, Sam Mitchell.