ONE HUNDRED and fifty players from Collingwood's AFL, AFLW and netball teams have penned an open letter to apologise to those hurt by the club as a result of racism.
The letter, which was 'written by the 150 footballers and netballers of Collingwood' and was 'endorsed and supported fully by the 120 staff of Collingwood', comes in the wake of the DO BETTER report that found the club was guilty of systematic racism.
>> READ THE FULL APOLOGY BELOW
"Sorry," the letter reads.
"As athletes we are sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race.
"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. We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together."
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The letter follows the concession from Collingwood president Eddie McGuire that he 'got it wrong' when he labelled the scathing internal review into systematic racism at the club as an 'historic and proud day'.
The report, which was leaked on Monday, found that there was 'something distinct and egregious' about the club's history of race-related incidents.
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The DO BETTER report was commissioned by the club last year after allegations of racism from 2010 premiership player Heritier Lumumba.
As athletes we are sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race.
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. We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together.
>> READ THE FULL 'DO BETTER' REPORT Download the PDF here
Over the last 72 hours we have had the opportunity to digest the DO BETTER report. We also apologise to those members, fans and community who feel guilt and shame as a result of the systemic racism that has occurred within our organisation.
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.
This letter is endorsed and supported fully by the 120 staff of Collingwood.
AFL social policy and inclusion manager Tanya Hosch said we all must continue to confront the issue of racism across all areas of the community.
"'Proud' is not a word I would use."— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) February 1, 2021
AFL executive @tanyahosch on Eddie McGuire's response to the Collingwood racism report.
Ms Hosch tells @paulwkennedy it "wouldn't surprise me at all" if more AFL players came forward to share their experiences. pic.twitter.com/6VMklV0Dy8
"These are hard conversations we need to have in order to become better as clubs, as a code and as a football community. We will continue to strengthen our commitment to confront, understand and fight all forms of racism and discrimination, on and off the field," Hosch said.
"If any player, at any level of the game has been subject to vilification and not had the positive experience in football that we wish for all players to have, our commitment to you is to do everything in our power to listen to you, understand your experiences, support you, and act against further incidents.
"The AFL will also listen to and learn from the report and will continue to work with clubs and players wherever our game is played to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all."