Collingwood’s long-serving president McGuire told reporters in a rambling press conference on Monday it was “an historic and proud day” for the club after an independent review found racism had resulted in “profound and enduring harm to First Nations and African players.”
In a 50-minute media conference, that football commentators dubbed a “dumpster fire”, McGuire and senior Collingwood executives said the club would address the report’s recommendations but denied it was a “racist club”. The word sorry was not mentioned throughout the entire conference.
At one point McGuire said: “We do a lot of great things here, and this is great”, referring to the report that was commissioned by the club.
“He was on the defensive, saying that this is our moment of pride for the club, instead of saying the word pride, it’s the club’s shame,” Jacobs said during a segment on ‘Studio 10’ on Tuesday, while pointing out McGuire held the press conference at the same time the Western Australia premier gave an update on Perth’s hard lockdown - in an attempt to “bury” the story.
“At no time did he show any understanding of what happened, any genuine effort to rectify what had happened, and this is evident in the fact that Collingwood don’t have any Indigenous players, not one First Nations player in their planning group for 2021.”
At the club’s annual general meeting on Tuesday McGuire admitted he chose the wrong words. “I got it wrong. I said it was a proud day, and it wasn’t,” he said.
Like many media commentators, Jacobs went on to say that McGuire’s time as president is up.
“They missed the mark and Eddie’s time has come,” she said. “He needs to stand down now.”
The ’Do Better Report’ found the club guilty of “distinct” and “egregious systemic racism” and said there was “a gap between what the club stands for and what it does”, while its processes for dealing with internal reports of racism were inadequate.
Former Collingwood Magpies player Heritier Lumumba, who initiated the report, labelled the AFL club’s response to the findings as “cowardice” and “delusional”.
Brazil-born Lumumba, who said he endured a “culture of racist jokes” while playing at Collingwood from 2005-14, said the response showed the club did not accept the findings of the report.
“What I saw was a clear case of cowardice,” Lumumba told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“It was a clear case of a football club that is delusional.
“They keep pointing to courage and they’re the ones who are leading the charge (against racism). No, they are absolutely not the ones leading the charge.”
Former Collingwood player Tony Armstrong, an Indigenous Australian footballer who played six games for Collingwood in 2014-15, also criticised the team’s response.
“It was disappointing that (the media conference) didn’t open with an apology,” Armstrong told The Age newspaper.
“Very disappointing ... Also, they never said they were racist. It would have been great (had they done so).”
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said on Monday the league would review the report’s findings before taking action.
Other media commentators took to social to reacted to the McGuire and Collingwood press conference:
With additional files from Reuters.