Heritier Lumumba accuses Collingwood of attempting to bury racial discrimination report

Former Magpies defender Heritier Lumumba has accused Collingwood Football Club of attempting to bury the findings of their internal review on racial discrimination.In June, the Magpies announced they would launch an investigation into Lumumba’s allegations of a “culture of racist jokes” during his 10-year stint at the club.
Four months later, Lumumba lodged a Supreme Court claim against Collingwood and the AFL for “failing to protect him from racism”.
In documents filed to the Supreme Court in October, the 2010 premiership player alleged the Pies failed in their “duty of care” to provide a safe working environment.
Last week, Eddie McGuire dropped the bombshell announcement he would step down as Collingwood President at the end of 2021. He has held the position since 1998.
While announcing his resignation, McGuire said he would continue to promote equality initiatives and “the fight against racism”.
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However, Lumumba believes McGuire’s departure was associated with the findings, and has accused the football club of attempting to “hide” the report.
The 34-year-old also claimed Collingwood has “ignored” his requests to provide him with a copy of the report.
“Six months after announcing an internal review on racism and racial discrimination, a report was finally delivered to Collingwood FC’s board. Eddie McGuire announced he would be stepping down just 72 hours later,” Lumumba tweeted on Wednesday evening.
“As usual, CFC have tried to spin this to avoid associating Eddie’s departure with the findings of the review, by making no mention of it publicly. No doubt their intention is to bury the report in ‘new initiatives’ around ‘equality’ as mentioned by McGuire in his speech.
“CFC is yet to provide me with the report — they ignored a request for it. If they truly believe in transparency, CFC should make the report public. Instead, they’re doing their best to hide it behind McGuire’s ‘lap of honour’ exit from the club’s presidency.
“CFC’s damage control tactics are predictable. They likely include a strategically crafted apology that will attempt to spin its way out of real accountability.
“CFC has constantly avoided acknowledging their toxicity and institutional failures, or how they punished me for speaking out and used their power as an institution to publicly discredit me.”
Brazilian-born Lumumba demanded an apology from his former club in June, asserting there was a “culture of racist jokes” at Collingwood Football Club.
Lumumba posted to Twitter: “Collingwood’s suggestion that it will ‘investigate’ itself after actively denying my story for six years is frankly insulting. Senior people in the club have known the truth this whole time and chose a cover-up over transparency.
“I have no desire to convince Collingwood of a truth that they already know. Given the club’s inability to come clean, and the way it has attempted to publicly and privately attack my reputation, I cannot accept that this ‘integrity’ process has been proposed in good faith.
“My claims have been consistent. Instead of simply acknowledging them, Collingwood chose to engage in deceptive and misleading conduct, unnecessarily dragging its fans and members through a scandal which will leave an unfortunate mark on the club’s history.”
In response to Lumumba’s accusations, Collingwood vowed to “search for the truth in the matters raised”.
“While Collingwood has always sought to be guided by values of equality, tolerance, inclusion and respect, in Heritier’s time the club could not fully appreciate the personal impact of his experiences,” the club said in a statement in June.
“Collingwood proudly seeks to encourage and celebrate diversity and difference. A further important objective of the integrity committee’s work is to learn and improve the club’s cultural understanding.”
Collingwood Football Club has been approached for comment.