In a developing situation that, in a perfect world, should serve as an agent of change for the entire AFL, but in reality will, sadly, probably end up doing very little, star defender Heritier Lumumba looks set to quit the Collingwood Football Club after talks between himself and the club over mediation over a homophobic slur within the club collapsed.
Lumumba had lodged an official complaint to club officials, including senior coach Nathan Buckley, after an advertising poster in the players’ rooms which featured images of star players Scott Pendulbury and Dayne Beams was defaced with the slur “Off to Mardi Gras, boys?” Lumumba allegedly threatened to resign from the club if officials did not come down hard on those responsible.
It’s not the first time relations between Lumumba – who reclaimed his birth name in late 2013 after being known as Harry O’Brien up until that point – and the Magpies have been strained, with Lumumba previously walking out on the club due to issues with his own mental health, and personal objections to the club’s playing culture.
The 27-year old Lumumba has not signalled any intention to retire from professional football altogether. Due to his age and experience, it’s likely he would not have any trouble finding a new footballing home should he choose to walk out on Collingwood.
It would, however, be the first time in memory that a player has taken such a public stand against homophobia within a club’s culture. For that, Lumumba should certainly be applauded. And other clubs should take notice.
Lumumba was a member of Collingwood’s 2010 premiership winning team.
Photo: Robert Prezioso via Getty Images.
via Herald Sun.