WARNING: This story contains intergenerational trauma to indigenous peoples and pregnancy loss
UPDATE: Brisbane Lions manager Chris Fagan has categorically denied participating in any wrongdoing against First Nations players during his time at Hawthorn, saying he was “shocked” and “deeply saddened” by the allegations.
Fagan and Alastair Clarkson were two of the people named in an explosive ABC report detailing historical allegations of mistreatment of indigenous players.
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Both Fagan and Clarkson have stated their intentions to witness an upcoming investigation into the matter, and as Clarkson did in a statement Wednesday, Fagan also defended himself.
“I categorically deny the allegations that I have made a mistake on my part in relation to the Hawthorn Football Club First Nations players,” he said in a statement to AFL.com.au.
“I have had very positive relationships with First Nations players during my many years in football, and indeed with players from different racial and ethnic groups.”
The ABC report came in the wake of a Hawthorn review of racism in the club, a review that Fagan says he was not asked to participate in.
“I have not had the opportunity to do this and I have not participated in any way in the review commissioned by the Hawthorn Football Club,” he said.
“I was not interviewed. Nor was I invited to be interviewed. No one associated with the review has ever made any accusations of me for an answer.
“I’m going to defend myself. My hope is that people will judge me based on how I actually behave and not based on what is written in the media.
“I support and welcome the investigation announced yesterday by the AFL. I intend to participate fully in the investigation and look forward to being heard and receiving a fair trial and fairness.”
Fagan’s statement came amid reports suggesting he denied being at a match where a Hawthorn player was asked to terminate his partner’s pregnancy, according to The ageis Caroline Wilson.
Fagan and Clarkson’s coaching careers are “in the balance” in the wake of historic allegations.
The AFL will set up an independent panel to investigate the claims, which CEO Gillon McLachlan described as “heartbreaking”.
Clarkson was the head coach of the Hawks at the time, while Fagan was a senior staff member.
The ABC report includes the accusation of a player, given the alias “Ian”, in which he claims he was encouraged by the club to have his partner terminated, leave his partner and move in with an assistant manager.
It is assumed that both Clarkson and Fagan were present at that meeting.
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“Chris Fagan and the people close to him aren’t sure if Chris Fagan was actually at the meeting, and I think Chris Fagan told the Brisbane Lions that he doesn’t remember him, that he wasn’t present at that meeting,” Wilson said on Nine. Footy classified.
“The truth will come out, so obviously there are different versions of the events.”
Clarkson’s starting date with North Melbourne has been postponed, while Fagan has stepped aside as Brisbane manager until the investigation is concluded.
AFL Commissioner Andrew Newbold also took a leave. He was president of Hawthorn from 2012 to 2016.
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“We see two coaching careers, great coaching careers in the balance and the future of an AFL commissioner in the balance,” Wilson said.
“If these allegations are proven, Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan will no longer train.”
During the period covered by the allegations, Hawthorn won three consecutive premierships in 2013-14-15, only the second club to achieve that feat since 1960. Clarkson also led the Hawks to the 2008 title.
“Both of these men (were) part of that big (era), three premiership teams in a row, one a few years earlier that Alastair Clarkson was also involved in, have been tainted from my point of view,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, the AFL will announce the four-person panel on Thursday or Friday. It will feature two women and two indigenous representatives, with Gillon McLachlan confirming Wednesday that it will contain the “right mix of diversity”.
“They (AFL) learned their lesson from the Adelaide pitch review where basically a group of indigenous players including Karl Amon, Steven May and Shaun Burgoyne talked to Gillon McLachlan that those Adelaide players were really being reviewed by former whites. cops, “he said.
“That will change. The hope is that the investigation into these allegations will be completed within two months.”
In a statement released Wednesday by the Brisbane Lions, Fagan welcomed the investigation.
“He was not consulted during the Hawthorn-sponsored review and looks forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL investigation,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Clarkson said he was “shocked” by the claims.
“I was not interviewed by the authors of the report commissioned by the club, nor was I given a copy of the report,” he said.
“I have been granted no due process and denial of any allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct and I look forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL’s external investigation.”
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