What a ride it was. Even though it didn’t end as we hoped, it’s hard to imagine getting more thrills or entertainment from a team than we did from the 2022 AFL Men’s Magpies. If we learned anything this year, it was that change is not a bad thing. But how is the transition that we have seen in leadership and on field performance translating in the realm of racial justice?
The good news:
- It appears that Craig McRae is a good person, and good people reject racism. He told Andrew Krakouer on Yokayi Footy:
“Anyone who comes into our environment we want to make sure they feel safe and connected…when you came back Krak it was a moment I cherished…we want people to feel welcome at our Club and just treat people with respect…”.
- Andrew Krakouer and Leon Davis are back at Collingwood, which is a very good sign. These are experienced Indigenous men who have seen it all including racism at the Club. It also bodes well for the safety of our Indigenous players, and all Indigenous people impacted by the environment at Collingwood, which we believe has a nation-wide impact.
- We see that Board Member Jodie Sizer is going on the offensive against AFL racism. Per The Age (1 Dec ’22):
“If [the AFL] need to contemplate their priorities, it is time to address this…If Eddie Betts and Adam Goodes and Leon Davis’ experiences are not enough to start acting then they need to look at their responsibilities as a regulator across the code. It requires leadership and vision.” And she appears to be bringing our President along with her. Let’s keep this up!
- Collingwood personnel were not a part of the recent accusations of racism at other AFL Clubs. While this is a low bar, we’re glad to be over it.
Work to be done:
- We have not adequately atoned for the many wrongs of the past, and those wrongs cannot be swept under the rug by a positive new spirit. As we demand in our petition, Collingwood needs a public apology and official commencement of the healing. We are yet to see that or plans for it. Please do not consider it a distraction, it is important unfinished business and the reason our petition remains open and unresolved. The harm done by racism in and around the Club spreads far and wide. The healing must, too.
- The Club still has not healed its fissure with Héritier Lumumba, a great man and Premiership champion, who was treated horribly by the Club, right up to its highest levels. He has been unfairly maligned and had the lawyers put on him when he had the temerity to complain. This is all flat wrong. Héritier is a former member of the team’s leadership group with a legitimate grievance and desire for meaningful change. He spoke loudly when others were afraid or unable, instigating the Do Better review which the Club now touts as a critical step in its progress. It is hard to picture true reconciliation without the Club finding a way to make Héritier’s journey a part of it. We are watching closely and will not forget him.
- We need to see continued support for the diversity programs and fighting racism. It needs to extend from the Club to the Magpie Army. An organisation with the size, strength and social capital of the Collingwood Football Club can do so much. While we love a safe place void of racism, we want to see Collingwood as a force in fighting it as well.
What are we doing?
- Collingwood Fans Care continue to communicate with stakeholders in and outside of the Club, on ways that we can drive true change throughout our big, diverse Magpie family. We’re cheerleading those fighting the good fight, just like we cheer on our players.
- We are active on social media, pointing out and discussing issues of racism in sport and driving all important conversation.
- We continue to read and listen to marginalised voices so that we learn how and where the disease of racism is spreading.
- And of course we watched a ton of footy, and tracked every trade and draft pick.
What can you do?
- Please stay in touch with us on Twitter and Instagram, or drop us an email anytime.
- You can still share our petition with friends and fellow footy fans via change.org
- Keep the conversation going! Don’t let racist comments or actions pass without objecting. No matter who you are with. Support victims of racism, the easiest way is by getting behind them online and listening to and sharing their stories.
- If you have any questions about the issues, or anything else you might be able to do, please feel free to email.
We hope everyone has a great end of 2022, and Go Pies!