After the leak of Collingwood Football Club’s Do Better report that found systemic racism was rampant in the Club, 150 Collingwood players have penned a letter apologising for their part in contributing to the toxic culture.
The letter, written by “the 150 footballers and netballers of Collingwood”, apologises to those who may have been “marginalised, hurt or discriminated against” because of their race due to an association with the Club.
“Through our silence we feel responsible for these injustices. We acknowledge it is not enough to simply show support for the principles of anti-racism and inclusion,” the letter read.
“We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together.”
The players said they had taken the time to “digest” the Do Better report and apologised to the Collingwood fan community for any guilt or shame they feel from the bombshell report.
“To all the young people who dream about one day pulling on the black and white stripes, we pledge as athletes to continue to help create a club that allows ALL of us to thrive, regardless of race.”
Endorsed by the 120 staff at the Club, the letter comes after the Do Better report was leaked earlier this week to the media, pushing Collingwood to publish the report to the public.
The independent investigation found the Club had consistently failed to appropriately deal with incidents of racism, making 18 recommendations to remedy the Club’s “toxic environment”.
Collingwood Board members President Eddie McGuire, Jodie Sizer and Peter Murphy fronted the media on Monday over the report’s leak.
McGuire’s comments about the report’s publishing being “a day of pride” for the Club were later criticised, with the President apologising the day after, admitting he “got it wrong”.
Sizer said it was now time for Collingwood to “meet the moment” as the Club tries to move forward from the damning report.
By Hannah Cross