ST KILDA has apologised to former player Robert Muir after an article - which documented several accounts of vile racism on and off the field - appeared on abc.net.au/news on Sunday morning.
In Russell Jackson's article, Muir explained how incessant racism drove him to alcoholism and into deep depression.
In one disturbing account, Muir explained when he was just 20yo, and new to the club, a teammate urinated on him in a shower while others laughed.
St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis issued the below statement on Sunday afternoon.
"Reading about the impact of racism on Robert Muir’s life in today’s ABC article will no doubt be confronting for everyone involved in football, as it was for me personally.
"We admire Robert’s courage to speak out about the racism he has endured and lack of support provided by our club when he needed it most.
"We apologise unreservedly to Robert and his family and are humbled that he continues to love our club.
"Today we celebrate the contribution Indigenous players have made to our game as part of the Sir Doug Nicholls Round. However, we must face the reality that the St Kilda Football Club has made grave errors in the past and may still be failing to grasp the full impact of the hurt felt by individuals, their families and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"We are committed to reconciliation and justice, and must ensure that this commitment is not just about celebration of culture, and initiatives to support past and current players and junior footballers. We must also acknowledge our mistakes, and take action to repair harm and ensure mistakes are never repeated.
"We will reach out to Robert to apologise personally, to provide the necessary support now and in the future, and to ensure he feels the respect and sense of belonging he deserves as one of the St Kilda Football Club’s pioneering Indigenous footballers.
"We have much to learn from Robert’s story and are committed to rebuilding his relationship with St Kilda and our game at his pace."
The AFL also released a statement on Sunday afternoon, apologising for the treatment Muir suffered from players and fans during his career.
"The AFL join with St Kilda Football Club in apologising for the disgraceful racism and disrespect Robert Muir endured during his playing years in our game and thank him for his courage in speaking out today.
"Unfortunately there are too many stories like this in our code and country’s history. We would like Robert to know we acknowledge his story, and, along with the St Kilda Football Club, will be making contact to understand further how we can respond, in accordance with Robert’s wishes.
"We will be there to assist with a process of recovery and reconciliation and we also understand that there will be similar stories from our game’s past that we need to address."