Hawthorn and the AFL respond to shocking allegations following racism review
Hawthorn and the AFL have responded to serious allegations surrounding the treatment of First Nations players and their families during the club’s recent past.
An ABC article on Wednesday, featuring anonymous accounts from three First Nations players, claimed the club coerced players into ending relationships, cutting off contact with family and even having their partners terminate pregnancies.
The incidents are alleged to have occurred during Alastair Clarkson’s tenure at the club, during which time the Hawks won four premierships.
Clarkson, now head coach at North Melbourne, as well as Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and then-player development manager Jason Burt have all been named in the report.
The revelations come following an extensive, external review into the club’s treatment of First Nations players during Clarkson’s time at the club.
Hawthorn reportedly received the completed review a fortnight ago.
Upon the publication of the ABC’s report, the club released a statement, confirming “disturbing” allegations.
“Earlier this year the Hawthorn Football Club engaged external First Nations consultants to liaise with current and former First Nations players and staff to learn more about their experience at the club,” the statement read.
“This important work has raised disturbing historical allegations that require further investigation.
“Upon learning of these allegations, the club immediately engaged AFL Integrity as is appropriate.
“The club will continue to provide support to those who have participated in this process, and their wellbeing remains our priority.”
The statement added that the review found the current environment at the club was “culturally safe.”
The AFL also released a statement confirming they had received the review from Hawthorn.
“The AFL takes extremely seriously all matters where people report experiencing harm, discrimination or mistreatment in our industry,” the AFL’s statement read.
“We recently received a document from the Hawthorn Football Club outlining very serious allegations gathered during the recently completed review by an external consultant who interviewed current and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.
“The experiences outlined in the document are extremely serious and require further and full examination.
“The AFL is finalising a process to investigate the allegations and has sought further details of those who shared their experiences in order to progress its investigation.
“We are committed to the welfare of all involved. Once we have spoken to those who have shared their experiences, we will be able to provide an update on the next steps in the investigation.”
Clarkson departed the Hawks in 2021 but will return to the AFL in 2023, having recently signed a five-year deal with the Kangaroos.
Fagan remains the senior coach at Brisbane, having joined the club in 2017.