Collingwood says former players Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer have returned to the AFL club just three months after the pair severed ties with the Magpies for failing to address a litany of racist incidents during their playing days.
- Davis, Krakouer and Heritier Lumumba terminated communications with the club, saying the Magpies had no intention of confronting racism
- Krakouer and Davis have now both been employed by Collingwood “to better inform ongoing cultural change at the club”
- A “truth-telling” process was a recommendation of the Do Better report around issues of racism at the club
In April, former teammate Heritier Lumumba said he, Davis and Krakouer terminated communications with Collingwood because the club had no intention of acting in “good faith” to confront racism the players experienced at the club.
But in a statement, the Magpies announced Davis and Krakouer have both been employed by the club.
“Leon and Andrew recently shared their experiences of racism with representatives from the club board with both former Collingwood players committed to being involved in the Club’s Truth-Telling Program – a process to more deeply understand their experiences and the impacts racism has had on their lives to better inform ongoing cultural change at the club,” the statement read.
“Leon has been employed by the club on a full-time basis to assist with its commitment to building a culturally safe environment for all staff and players and Andrew will be employed to help support this.”
Last year, Collingwood accepted a series of recommendations from a damning, independent review known as the “Do Better” report, promising to address and reconcile past acts of racism.
The report found the organisation was guilty of “distinct and egregious” systemic racism, and it called for deep, structural change.
The so-called “truth-telling” or reconciliation process, which began earlier this year, is one of the report’s recommendations.
Davis said he shared his experiences of racism as a player.
“Unfortunately, these instances weren’t my first as I have experienced racism from a very young age,” Davis said in the statement.
“So too have members of my family and hearing my father’s stories of racism and what he experienced is something that drives me to make change and ensure we all do better.”
“This is a community issue, a nationwide issue and ultimately a world issue and we must do better to stop racism.
“I am pleased to have a role where I am now encouraged to implement and drive cultural change and know I have the full support of all those at the club in doing so.”
Krakouer said he echoed Davis’s words and felt like he had a role to educate the community to stamp out racism.
“I want my children to grow in an environment where there are no barriers to achieving success,” Krakouer said.
“I want my community to be strong and to be proud and I want the game of Australian football – the game I love – to be welcoming of First Nations people at all times, on and off the field and in the stands.
“I want us to keep striving to be better.”
Drafted in 1999, Davis kicked 270 goals across a sparkling 225-game career that included two All-Australian jumpers.
The immensely talented Krakouer was drafted a year later in 2000 and played 137 games for Richmond and Collingwood, kicking 152 goals.
In May, Lumumba renewed criticism of his former club, accusing Collingwood of being dishonest in its handling of racism.
The 35-year-old released part of a recording of a 2014 conversation with Nathan Buckley, in which the former coach accused Lumumba of throwing then-president Eddie McGuire “under the bus” when he criticised racist comments about Indigenous champion Adam Goodes.