Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba claimed he was “ostracised internally” after addressing the club’s “culture of racist jokes”.
Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba claimed he was “ostracised internally” after addressing the club’s “culture of racist jokes”.

AFL star drops racism bombshell

Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba has demanded an apology from his former club, claiming he was subjected to racism during his 10-year spell with the Magpies.

Brazilian-born Lumumba believed there was a "culture of racist jokes" at Collingwood Football Club, which had a "negative impact" on his mental health and general wellbeing. He also claimed to have been "ostracised internally" after speaking out against the racism.

The 33-year-old - who now lives in Los Angeles - singled out Magpies coach Nathan Buckley and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire in Tuesday afternoon's social media post.

"The Collingwood Football Club operated from the premise that I was wrong to speak out about McGuire's racism," Lumumba wrote on Facebook.

"I spoke out against McGuire's racism on 28/5/2013 and was ostracised internally for doing so, particularly from Buckley, who stated, 'You threw the president under the bus.'

"They viewed what I did as wrong, and remained unapologetic about it, and as a result, I was treated differently, for the worse.

"The CFC and the AFL must publicly acknowledge that my experiences of racism during my career were inadequately dealt with, which caused further damage to my wellbeing."

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Lumumba played 199 games for Collingwood before signing with Melbourne in 2015. The defender claimed he was called "Chimp" by teammates for eight years, before directly addressing the issue at a team meeting in 2013.

The 2010 All-Australian also started using psychedelic drugs in an attempt to help deal with his mental health.

"Without a support network within the club/league that could cater to my special needs, I used psilocybin (mushrooms) out of desperation to deal with my distressed state, which subsequently helped confront CFC over the issues," Lumumba wrote.

"Immediately following the team meeting, the nickname stopped, as too did the jokes from within the playing group. However, there were still problematic occurrences that followed.

"The CFC/AFL did not have the capacity, nor the desire, to address the issues that I was raising. They were negligent and did not their internal issues seriously."

Heritier Lumumba and Eddie McGuire at Collingwood training.
Heritier Lumumba and Eddie McGuire at Collingwood training.

Lumumba had previously called out his experiences of racism in football during SBS documentary Fair Game, where Lumumba claimed: "Australian football culture is a white culture … and nothing taught me that better than the Collingwood Football Club."

"I went public with my experience via a documentary. In a powerful show of solidarity, three of my former Indigenous teammates, plus Shae McNamara (an outsider to white Aus culture) confirmed that my testimony of the nickname and the jokes was true," Lumumba wrote on Tuesday.

"The CFC (McGuire and Buckley) and AFL (McLachlan) denied and proceeded to make aversion on my mental health, while my former teammates, who knew that it was true, remained silent."

Buckley responded to Lumumba's claims in 2017.

"I read (his comments) this morning and it's a bit sad, in many ways, that 'H' feels that way about his experiences in the game and he's been a great contributor to our footy club for a decade for his 199 games, and I shared those times with him as a player and then as a coach," Buckley told Triple M.

"I suppose I'd echo the sentiments of the club, just hoping that he's doing well and that he can still see the positives of his experience as an AFL footballer."

 

Originally published as AFL star drops racism bombshell

News Corp Australia


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