Painful delusion: Lumumba slams Eddie over racism report
Footy star Heritier Lumumba has slammed Collingwood's response to a scathing report which found there was "systemic racism" at the club.
President Eddie McGuire claimed on Monday the emergence of the report's detail - revealed in the Herald Sun - was "a day of pride" for the Magpies, proving their commitment to tackling the issue.
A defiant McGuire declared "we're not a racist club" and disputed many of the review's findings.
But in a series of late night tweets, former player Lumumba - whose claims of racial vilification sparked the probe - labelled the club's response as "bizarre".
"I'm grateful to all the people who have reached out to me in support - including CFC members and supporters - as well as all those who have challenged the Collingwood Football Club's bizarre response to their own report finding them guilty of systemic racism," he said.
"It was painful to watch the club dig itself deeper into delusion and dishonesty at today's press conference.
"Eddie McGuire's inability to let go of the illusion he's constructed of himself does not serve the club, the code, or the community.
"It's a pity his final year looks like it will be marked by yet another self-inflicted racism scandal.
"The report clearly states that during Eddie's tenure as CFC president, the club's racism resulted in "profound and enduring harm" to many individuals, families, & communities.
"It was disturbing to see how easily Eddie and the CFC board members reduced the severity of this 'profound and enduring harm' to mere 'mishaps' - as if they were talking about spilling tea on a couch rather than being found guilty of years of systemic racism.
"I'll be speaking to media (Tuesday) to break down the lies and deception, as well as answering questions about the report's findings."
McGuire has stared down calls for his resignation after the leaking of the secret "Do Better" review, which found "systemic racism within the Collingwood Football Club".
1) I’m grateful to all the people who have reached out to me in support - including CFC members and supporters - as well as all those who have challenged the Collingwood Football Club’s bizarre response to their own report finding them guilty of systemic racism.— Héritier Lumumba (@iamlumumba) February 1, 2021
It comes as the lawyer for Lumumba said the report was a "watershed moment" for the club and the AFL.
Rhea Dhillon - who is Special Counsel for law firm Phi Finney McDonald - said Lumumba felt "vindicated" by the findings of Collingwood's 'Do Better' report and the future of his legal proceedings would be determined by what the Magpies and the AFL do next.
Lumumba launched legal action with the Supreme Court of Victoria against Collingwood and the AFL last October, claiming that he was racially abused during his career with the Magpies and both organisations failed to provide him a safe working environment.
"This is a pretty watershed moment, not only for the club but for the AFL," Dhillon told News Corp Australia.
"Now with it all out in the open, suffice to say it entirely vindicates our client's claims. He has been saying these things for the past seven years and he is feeling pretty vindicated by the findings in the report.
"We were waiting and seeing what the report would be and now we're waiting to see what their response is to it. That could alleviate the need for legal proceedings or we might still have to consider our options, depending on what course they (Collingwood) propose to take."
Dhillon said Lumumba had been consistent in his desire for an "acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an apology" from Collingwood, as well as "compensation for the damage done".
ROBBO: EDDIE MUST STAND DOWN TODAY
The 2010 premiership player, who is now based in Los Angeles, chose not to be interviewed as part of the report but did request a copy of it in December, which was denied by the Magpies.
"He had reason to be sceptical about participation in the report because, as the report states, Collingwood has a tendency to treat things as a PR exercise rather than a serious allegation and doubled-down and denied his allegations and has discredited him publicly," Dhillon said.
"So he was very reluctant to be subjected to that again.
"He's been very vocal. He hasn't held back. His record of events is available on Twitter, so I don't think that he felt that it was necessary to repeat that process. I think he found that it would be fairly self-evident and I think that Dr (Larissa) Behrendt's report shows that that is the case."
Collingwood suspended two members last July over offensive social media comments directed towards forward Jordan De Goey.
The comments came after De Goey had returned to the playing field after being charged with sexual assault following an alleged 2015 incident.
Dhillon said this action was not consistent with how Collingwood had treated Lumumba.
"Collingwood's stance there was pretty clear in that they said their membership would only be reinstated once the fans had acknowledged their own wrongdoing, apologised for that and demonstrated an understanding of the hurt they caused to the player," Dhillon said.
"If that's the standard they hold their members to, it's certainly the standard they should be holding themselves to."
Originally published as Painful delusion: Lumumba slams Eddie over racism report