‘Shameful’: Lumumba hits back in AFL racism row

Heritier Lumumba has blasted the Collingwood football club for its response to a report into racism at the club.

Heritier Lumumba has blasted the Collingwood football club for its response to a report into racism at the club. Photo: Getty

Heritier Lumumba has described Collingwood and the AFL’s response to a damning report into systemic racism at the Magpies as “shameful”.

The 2010 premiership defender believes his former club and the league have let down two of their own during the past week.

After Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s botched media conference last Monday, Magpies board member Jodie Sizer has conducted several interviews.

The AFL’s inclusion and social policy manager Tanya Hosch has also spoken to some media outlets.

But in a series of tweets, Lumumba claimed that was not good enough.

“It’s shameful that both Collingwood and the AFL have forced two Black women – Jodi (sic) Sizer and Tanya Hosch respectively – to front the media for the past week, instead of Eddie McGuire and Gillon McLachlan,” Lumumba wrote on Monday.

“Systemic issues start at the top. The people at the top need to front up and face the media, instead of getting others to take their hits. This is pathetic leadership and a clear case of cowardice.

“Jodi (sic) Sizer has only been at CFC for 2 years. Why should she have to answer for McGuire’s 20 years of failures, with respect to racism?

“These Black women should not have to answer for the incompetence & indifference of privileged white men with major institutional power.”

After McGuire declared the Do Better report, which came to light after being leaked to the media, as a “proud and historic day” for Collingwood, he later apologised for using those words.

McLachlan briefly addressed the report during a joint media call with Telstra and Foxtel last Tuesday.

Lumumba has conducted numerous interviews and has been regularly posting on social media since the report’s release, saying he feels vindicated by the findings of the independent investigation.

He first raised the alarm on concerns about racism at Collingwood in 2013.

Lumumba claims he experienced a culture of racism, which included being nicknamed “chimp” during his 10 seasons at the club.

The 223-game AFL player chose not to participate in the club-commissioned review but the report’s authors said there needed to be a serious investigation into his claims.

Lumumba said he was tired of explaining his experiences to Collingwood people and being met with “defensiveness”.


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