Head coach of AFL’s Brisbane Lions and former assistant coach of the Hawthorn Hawks Chris Fagan has been stood down and has taken a leave of absence following damning allegations and disturbing claims made by Aboriginal players.
In case you missed it, the Hawthorn AFL club’s internal review obtained by the ABC (which is yet to be released) alleged that First Nations players were separated from families and one player was demanded to tell his partner to terminate their pregnancy for the sake of their career.
The Brisbane Lions have released a statement in regards to Chris Fagan stepping down.
“The Brisbane Lions are aware senior Coach Chris Fagan will work with the AFL on an investigation into allegations concerning historical events at the Hawthorn Football Club, where he was a former employee,” read a statement from the Brisbane Lions.
“Chris supports and welcomes the investigation.
“He was not consulted during the Hawthorn-sponsored review and looks forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL investigation.
“The Brisbane Lions and Chris have mutually agreed that he will take a leave of absence from the Club so he can fully cooperate in the investigation.”
Former Hawthorn Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was also named in the allegations. Clarkson is set to be the head coach of the North Melbourne Kangaroos, but neither he nor North Melbourne has made a statement.
Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves spoke openly about the racism scandal to the media on Wednesday.
“We are profoundly disappointed that some of our former players and their families feel like this about their experiences at the club,” he said.
“The club will continue to offer support to those who have participated in this process and their wellbeing remains our priority.”
When asked whether or not the Hawthorn Hawks had a “cultural” problem, Reeves said that all of Australia has a “culture problem historically,” and that just like this country, the club would need to face its history.
“We focus every day on being better and building a great environment for our club. I feel confident from the report as well that currently, our players feel culturally safe.
“We have to face our history and our past and we have to act responsibly and we have to cooperate and move forward from that.”
It’s definitely past time Australia and the AFL faced up to its history of racism and exclusion.
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