Eddie responds to disturbing allegations

 

Collingwood President Eddie McGuire has responded to allegations of racism from former Magpies defender Heritier Lumumba.

On Tuesday, Lumumba demanded an apology from his former club, claiming he was subjected to racism during his 10-year spell with the Magpies.

Brazilian-born Lumumba alleged there was a "culture of racist jokes" at Collingwood, which had a "negative impact" on his mental health and general wellbeing. He also claimed to have been "ostracised internally" after speaking out against racism.

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The 33-year-old - who now lives in Los Angeles - has previously spoken out about alleged racism at the club and this week singled out Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley and McGuire in his social media post.

"The Collingwood Football Club operated from the premise that I was wrong to speak out about McGuire's racism," Lumumba wrote on Facebook.

"I spoke out against McGuire's racism on 28/5/2013 and was ostracised internally for doing so, particularly from Buckley, who stated, 'You threw the president under the bus'.

"They viewed what I did as wrong, and remained unapologetic about it, and as a result, I was treated differently, for the worse.

"The CFC and the AFL must publicly acknowledge that my experiences of racism during my career were inadequately dealt with, which caused further damage to my wellbeing."

Lumumba also claimed he was called "Chimp" by Magpies teammates before directly addressing the issue in 2013.

Heritier Lumumba played 199 games for Collingwood.
Heritier Lumumba played 199 games for Collingwood.

Speaking on Channel 9's Footy Classified, McGuire said he was unaware of Buckley's alleged "under the bus" remark and the "Chimp" nickname, but conceded the club needed to "find a solution" for racism in the AFL.

"Heritier Lumumba was a valued member of the Collingwood Football Club, and remains to this day," McGuire said.

"I continually try to reach out to Heritier. In fact, earlier this year I was in Los Angeles and tried to find him, because I want to bring him home to give him a Life Membership at the Collingwood Football Club.

"I'm going to try again to reach out."

Lumumba had previously confronted McGuire about racism in the sport during an AFL 360 segment amid the Adam Goodes booing saga.

McGuire was adamant he would support any current or former Collingwood player who spoke out against the club.

"We're all about trying to get a solution; we're not defending ourselves," McGuire said.

"I'm really proud of what we do at Collingwood and what we do with our Indigenous programs. We have great leadership from Travis Varcoe.

"If Heritier is still obviously feeling the pain, well reach out. We want to find a solution."

Lumumba penned an open letter to his former Collingwood teammates on Wednesday, calling for an acknowledgment of racism.

"I want to make it clear that this is not about individuals. I have no interest in naming and shaming any of my former teammates. This is about racist policy and the lack of anti-racist policy," Lumumba wrote on foxsports.com.au.

"However, with all that being said, I must reaffirm the sentiments of the great LeBron James, 'If you ain't wit US, WE ain't with Y'ALL!'

"It is no longer good enough to be 'not racist', it is no longer acceptable to be silent. You must be anti-racist, daily, if you are committed to being a part of the solution, as opposed to being complicit in the perpetuation of the problem.

"Indigenous people around the world, including people of African descent, have been in a contest for survival. Despite the violence that has and is systemically waged upon our humanity and lands, we are still here. Despite the massacres, the rapes, the humiliation and degradation, we are still here.

"We continually show up to contest after contest, for little reward or oftentimes more violence inflicted upon us.

"It is time that we redistribute this pain and place it on the powerful; the ones who have an ability and responsibility to create change.

"With all this being said, when it comes to this current contest that our peoples find ourselves in, you're either with us or against us. You are either anti-racist or racist. Join me in demanding that the Collingwood Football Club and the AFL be accountable for their unacceptable handling of the racism that I faced during my career."

 

Originally published as Eddie responds to disturbing allegations



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