The AFL’s investigation into the damning Hawthorn racism claims is already “a mess”, according to a leading journalist, as families allegedly involved don’t “trust” the inquiry.
Caroline Wilson says the AFL has “lost control” of the process given the alleged involvement of commissioner Andrew Newbold – who last week announced he was taking a leave of absence from his position.
Wilson said if families involved in the Hawthorn-commissioned review into the alleged mistreatment of its First Nations players didn’t want to be involved in the AFL’s separate investigation, that posed a big problem.
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“As we sit here tonight, the aggrieved families who gave evidence … were still not over the line as agreeing to the (investigation) process. They all week have been saying they want an independent judicial inquiry,” Wilson reported on 3AW.
“That’s why it’s such a mess – these people gave their evidence (and) are unwilling to do so in an environment they don’t trust.
“One of the reasons they don’t trust the AFL is because of Andrew Newbold.
“The AFL has to be conflicted when investigating one of their own so it is a mess.
“I’ve never seen a situation where the AFL itself has lost control of the process.
“There’s a lot of angst.
“Now the parties involved don’t want to cooperate with the AFL. Do they go to police? It’s hard to know where they go if they don’t cooperate with the investigation.”
Foxfooty.com.au does not suggest the allegations in the report are completely true and accurate, only that they have been made and are being investigated by other bodies.
Wilson said even if the “dire allegations” were “20 per cent” true, she believes ex-Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson would never coach again given the seriousness of the accusations.
“If they are proven to be 100 per cent wrong, then Alastair Clarkson has had his reputation completely smeared,” she said on 3AW.
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“It’s so hard to understand why so many families would make these allegations.
“If any of this did take place, we need to try it in a proper court – we need to try it correctly and that just isn’t happening.
“I really think its going to be difficult for Alastair (to return).
“North are backing him and say they want him back. Brisbane feel the same way about Chris Fagan.
“I can’t see Alastair Clarkson coaching North Melbourne certainly this year.”
Wilson’s comments come as emails from the partner of a former Hawthorn footballer have been leaked, where she claims to have had desperate pleas for assistance dismissed by the football club.
The partner claims those emails were sent to then-Hawks club president Newbold, where he allegedly responded it was “not appropriate” for him to become involved.
Newbold has denied ever seeing the emails.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has pledged an independent investigation into allegations within the Hawthorn report including claims Clarkson used “bullying and intimidation” against First Nations players and their partners between 2010 and 2016.
Clarkson and Fagan have both strongly denied any wrongdoing and are disappointed they have yet to have their side of the story heard.