Ex-Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba says he has no intention of participating in the club’s internal review into allegations of racism.
The 199-game player for the Pies claims he was subjected to racism during his time with the club, including the explosive allegation he was nicknamed “chimp”.
While coach Nathan Buckley has promised the AFL club won’t sweep such accusations aside, Lumumba is adamant in his refusal to take part.
He says he went through an eight-hour mediation with Buckley at the time and has “no intention” of engaging with the proposed internal ‘club integrity’ process.
Buckley’s comments come after two former Collingwood players confirmed they knew about Lumumba’s nickname.
Premiership players Chris Dawes and Brent Macaffer have stepped forward to support Lumumba and his version of events.
“The nickname ‘the chimp’ and stuff like that which absolutely I remember clearly like that was [his] nickname from whenever I got to the football club in 2006,” Brent Macaffer told SBS’ The Feed.
Dawes told the program he heard the nickname used “a couple (of) times”.
Lumumba’s claim was also publicly backed up by former Magpies teammate Andrew Krakouer in 2017.
Buckley believes his character is being questioned but is adamant he never heard Lumumba being called a “chimp” during his playing career at the Magpies.
“The only mouth I have heard that nickname out of was Heritier’s himself when he told me about it, that is categoric,” Buckley told reporters on Wednesday.
Racism called out across the code
The ongoing row at Collingwood is unfolding as more voices are heard calling out racism on and off the field.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, AFL players have knelt prior to games in show of support for movement.
Current and ex-players have taken to the airwaves and social media to criticise racism in the game and society at large.
Carlton veteran Eddie Betts questioned his AFL future as a result of constant racial vilification but is determined to keep fighting for what he believes in.
The Blues forward this month called out the latest in a long and constant line of racially motivated attacks directed at him.
The 33-year-old considered whether to address a Twitter post, which depicted him as a monkey, but felt it was his duty as an Aboriginal role model to call out despicable behaviour.
“I was really angry and I wanted to put something up that was aggressive, but that’s not my nature. I’m kind and I always like to give people a second chance and I always like to educate people,” Betts told Fox Footy on Tuesday night.
“I’ve got to set up barriers every day when I leave the house, thinking I’m going to get racially abused when I’m driving or when I go to a supermarket.
“All I want to do is rock up to training, play and enjoy the game of footy.
“I’m sick and tired of it but I want the AFL to be a safe platform for young Aboriginal kids to come and enjoy and play footy without being racially abused.
“If I have to take the full brunt of all that and try and educate people so that the platform is a safe place, I am happy to cop the brunt.
“It deeply hurts and you think to yourself ‘why do I keep playing footy if I keep copping this’, but I want to make a change.
“The way to hurt these guys is keep playing great footy and keep smiling and that’s what I love doing.”
Earlier this month, Swans superstar Lance Franklin took to Instagram to raise awareness of the disproportionate number of Indigenous people incarcerated in Australia.
Franklin’s post followed Hawthorn star Chad Wingard’s lament at the treatment of an Indigenous youth who was kicked to the ground during an arrest in Sydney earlier in the week.