Alastair Clarkson refutes serious allegations: “I was not afforded any due process”
Former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has denied any wrongdoing after serious allegations were levelled at him over his and others’ treatment of First Nations players during his time at the club.
An ABC report published on Wednesday, featuring accounts from three players, claims First Nations players were, among other allegations, coerced into ending relationships and terminating pregnancies.
Clarkson, who was due to take up a five-year contract as senior coach at North Melbourne on November 1, will now remain away from the club while an AFL-initiated, external investigation is completed.
The four-time premiership-winning coach released a statement on Wednesday, revealing his shock at the contents of the report.
“The health, care and welfare of our players, staff and their families were always my highest priorities during my time at Hawthorn Football Club,” Clarkson said.
“I was therefore shocked by the extremely serious allegations reported in the media earlier today.
“I was not interviewed by the authors of the report commissioned by the club, and nor have I been provided with a copy of the report.
“I was not afforded any due process and I refute any allegation of wrongdoing or misconduct and look forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL external investigation.
“I have today contacted the President of North Melbourne Football Club and we have mutually agreed that I will step back from my responsibilities at the club so I can fully cooperate in the investigation.
“As the matters are now subject to an investigation, I will not make any further comment at this stage.”
Clarkson coached the Hawks from 2005 until 2021, during which time he won four premierships.
The 54-year-old, along with now-Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and Jason Burt, former player development manager at Hawthorn, were all named in the ABC’s report.
That report followed the completion of a club-initiated, external review into the treatment of First Nations players during Clarkson’s time at the Hawks.
Earlier, Brisbane and Fagan announced he would be taking a leave of absence in order to cooperate with the investigation into the claims.