Hawthorn has reportedly angered other AFL clubs with its governance of the bombshell report containing allegations of racism that has sent shockwaves across the league.
It was on Wednesday revealed the report commissioned by the Hawks, titled ‘Cultural Safety Review: Of Past and Present Indigenous Players and Staff of the Hawthorn Football Club’ recommends the football club should provide monetary compensation to any victims of negligence and abuse.
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The rival clubs most impacted by the allegations contained in the report are North Melbourne, who earlier this month announced former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson as its head coach, and Brisbane, who have been left reeling by claims in the report head coach Chris Fagan was present during some of the alleged acts of mistreatment while serving as Hawthorn’s assistant coach.
Both coaches have repeatedly denied the allegations made in the report.
It is not possible at this time to independently verify the claims or assertions made in the report and this website does not suggest they are completely true and accurate, only that they have been made and are being investigated by various bodies.
Clarkson went public again on Wednesday, releasing a statement, saying he had been left “shocked and deeply distressed” since learning of the allegations.
ABC Sport first reported the review alleges unnamed senior staff at Hawthorn demanded the separation of First Nations players from their partners and pressured one player and his partner to terminate a pregnancy for the sake of his career.
Clarkson has stepped aside from his role at North Melbourne, due to begin on November 1.
Frustration is reportedly growing across the league with the AFL still having failed to put together an independent panel which will be charged with investigating the allegations — despite the ABC’s bombshell report being made public on Wednesday, September 21.
Veteran football reporter Caroline Wilson now reports rival clubs are not happy about the way the situation has played out.
“A lot of clubs are furious at Hawthorn as is the AFL for not putting strong parameters around this review and giving it to the AFL and leaving it with them and now the parties don’t want to co-operate with the AFL,” Wilson said on 3AW.
“Do they go to the police? It’s just hard to know where they go with this investigation.”
Wilson said there is a “general feeling” at the Lions that Fagan could return to his full time coaching position with the club before the AFL’s independent investigation concludes.
She said once Fagan provides testimony to the eventual investigation panel — and should he continue to deny the allegations — that sections of the club would want to take the drastic action of allowing him to return immediately.
“There are a lot of people at Brisbane who love Chris Fagan, who can’t believe this to be true and who want him to come back,” she said.
She said some of the former Hawthorn players and their families involved in the Hawthorn investigation do not want to continue to be involved in any further investigations because of a lack of trust with league administrators.
The situation took another turn on Wednesday when it was revealed the report claims the partner of a former Hawthorn footballer had desperate pleas for assistance dismissed by the football club.
The report claims emails were sent to former Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold, who is now a member of the AFL commission.
Newbold last week announced he was taking a leave of absence from his position.
The report claims Newbold responded to an email sent by the woman, saying it was “not appropriate” for him to become involved.
He has told The Herald Sun he never saw the emails. “I want to refute that absolutely. It’s not my language I would use”.
Speaking of the time it had taken to compile an independent panel, Wilson said: “there’s genuine despair that it’s taken a week already.”
“As we sit here tonight (Wednesday) the aggrieved families who gave evidence in the review into cultural problems at the Hawthorn Football Club, we’re still not over the line to agreeing to that process. They have been saying all week they want an independent judicial inquiry.”
She went on to say: “One of the reasons they don’t trust the AFL is (because of the investigation into) Andrew Newbold. The AFL has to be conflicted that the AFL is investigating one of its own”.
Meanwhile, further disturbing allegations of “negligence and human rights abuses” towards First Nations players contained in the club’s review were brought to light on Wednesday, as first reported by The Herald Sun.
The newspaper reports the club has been urged in the report findings to act on several recommendations, including:
— The club should “develop and offer a reparation and restitution package to the victims of negligence and abuse committed to them”.
— That part of the restitution package include “an official public apology”.
— Clarkson and Fagan be reported to the AFL integrity unit.
Fagan again denied the allegations on Tuesday as it was revealed he has retained lawyers to defend himself.
Clarkson, who has denied the allegations, also said in his public statement on Wednesday he “will not hesitate to take further steps to protect my position and reputation”.
“Since learning of the allegations first reported in the media last Wednesday I have been shocked and deeply distressed,” Clarkson’s statement read.
“It remains profoundly disappointing that these matters are now being widely canvassed in the public domain without the opportunity being given to me or others to give our accounts or even read the Hawthorn report, which to this day I have not seen.
“The further recent publication of purported extracts from the report means I now have grave concerns that any chance of a fair process and just outcome have been seriously undermined, if not irrevocably corrupted.
“The failure to maintain the confidentiality of the review and further damaging public speculation means I have no option but to express publicly, in the strongest and most emphatic terms possible, that I did not behave in the manner claimed.
“I believe the genuine affection I held for all the players who walked through the doors into Hawthorn is well known. I have always appreciated and respected the unique journeys of First Nations players into the highest echelons of Australian Rules Football.
“I have been committed to acknowledging and understanding their many varied experiences and brought all my efforts to ensuring these players are given the opportunity to realise their dreams.
“But not at any cost, and never at the cost of their families as has been alleged. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and deeply offensive.
“People who know me will understand how important family is to me. I have always carried this value into every organisation I have worked with.
“I acknowledge how difficult it is for any player, and in particular First Nations players to tell their stories about deeply personal matters and I respect every player that has spoken to either the ABC or Phil Egan as part of the Hawthorn Football Club process. Every person has their
story and the right to tell it.
“However, as the allegations against me have been spread widely and sometimes presented as indisputable matters of fact, I must state that my clear memory of the matters reported is very different. I will continue to co-operate with the AFL and I am trying to retain my trust that it will put in place a fair, respectful and supportive process for all involved.
“However. I will not hesitate to take further steps to protect my position and reputation should that be necessary.
“I do not intend to make any further comment publicly on the process or on further media reports.”
Clarkson is on a five-year contract reported to be worth $5 million with the Kangaroos which will see him coach through to the end of the 2027 season.
Fagan is contracted at the Lions through to the end of 2023.
Clarkson was coach of Hawthorn between 2005 and 2021, while Fagan was a senior assistant coach and general manager of football at the club from 2008 to 2016.
— The Herald Sun has exclusively obtained the full report titled Cultural Safety Review: Of Past and Present Indigenous Players and Staff of the Hawthorn Football Club.