McLachlan says Hawthorn ‘racism’ probe could take months

McLachlan said the league had spoken to candidates on Thursday morning for an independent panel to investigate the allegations.

“It’s an independent panel that’ll have, obviously the right functional skills, but also diversity and I think that’s obviously cultural and gender. And we’ll work through that over the coming period,” McLachlan said.

Meanwhile, former First Nations footballer Andrew Krakouer – who experienced racism alongside Heritier Lumumba during his playing career at Collingwood, spurring the club’s Do Better report – said he felt “triggered” and “sick to his stomach” after hearing the Hawthorn allegations.

Speaking on the AFL website’s Indigenous Yokayi Footy program, Krakouer said allegations that partners of young Indigenous footballers were told to have an abortion were particularly painful to read as he started a family at 16.

“The thing that stuck for me is I had a young family. I was 16 when I had my first daughter. So for them to be able to say what they spoke about, it was really hard to listen to,” said a visibly emotional Krakouer.

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“I would choose my family over footy every any day of the week if that was the opportunity I had to choose from back them. I do it and I’d do it today. So, it’s triggering and it’s hard to talk about.”

Krakouer called racism a “public health issue” and called on both society and the AFL to address it.

“Racism continues to disempower our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. And this is proven through the continued mistreatment of our men and women and their families within the AFL affecting our ‘wirin’ – our spirit – and taking away our sense of pride and dignity as a strong cultural men and women as a people,” he said.

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