Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has told members “don’t be depressed” and that “something good will come” amid the fallout from the club’s cultural safety review.
The review, coupled with a report from ABC journalist Russell Jackson, alleges a number of Indigenous players went through traumatic experiences during parts of former coach Alastair Clarkson’s tenure at the club.
Further allegations have since surfaced via The Age, which allege Clarkson also acted unreasonably towards current coach and former midfielder Sam Mitchell.
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Speaking at the club’s best and fairest awards, Kennett addressed the reports, insisting he did “not consider this to be a crisis”.
Kennett also took aim at those who spoke to the ABC, saying it was “unfair” to those they accused of wrongdoing.
“We wanted them to tell their stories about their time at Hawthorn and since,” Kennett said.
“But it wasn’t an inquiry in that sense. It was to make sure, as we always do, we put the welfare of our people first.
“It was a story telling where those telling the stories asked for confidentiality. We respected that.
“Sadly they made a decision to talk to the press and sadly they named people with whom they had very real issues. That was unfair to those people, so therefore we need to have this resolved.”
Kennett added he did not know how long the issue would take to be resolved.
“I hope that all parties can come together in some form of mediation and it could be resolved before the end of the year so that people can get on with their lives and our players and our coaches can all focus on the thing we salute them for,” he said.
He also insisted the issues raised in the report were not current ones.
“The one thing that the investigation showed was that we have a safe, cultural workplace now. So these are issues of the past,” he said.
“What I hope will come in future is if anyone has an issue in the future … if you believe there has been inappropriate behaviour, tell us at the time.
“Go to the CEO or go to the head of football. We don’t want anyone to feel and carry the burden of inappropriate behaviour if, in fact, inappropriate behaviour is proven. Because at this stage we’ve only had one side.”