AFL 2022: Damning racism report reveals shocking allegations against Hawthorn Hawks and Indigenous players

Disclaimer: This story contains Indigenous intergenerational trauma and pregnancy loss

An external Hawthorn Football Club review reportedly found key Hawks figures were responsible for the shocking mistreatment of Indigenous players.

ABC Sports reports that the review alleges senior Hawthorn executives demanded the separation of First Nations players from their partners and pressured a player and his partner to end a pregnancy for the sake of his career.

Other players claim they were forced to remove SIM cards from their phones and replace them with new ones in a bid to cut them off from their partners and focus on their football careers.

Names have been changed in the report to protect the identities of the players and their partners.

The external review alleges the Premier’s four-time manager Alastair Clarkson and former assistant Chris Fagan, who is now the Brisbane Lions manager, were implicated in some of the cases.

Clarkson was announced as North Melbourne’s new coach last month in a five-year deal estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

The review was delivered to Hawthorn senior management two weeks ago and is now with the AFL Integrity Unit.

It is believed to be a similar style review to Collingwood’s ‘Do Better’ report last year.

The most disturbing allegation relates to a case mentioned in the report which details how a player claims Clarkson and Fagan were present at a meeting where he was told to get rid of his partner and unborn baby – and then move on. live with a club staff member.

“Clarkson just leaned over me and demanded that I get rid of my unborn child and my partner,” the player said.

The player went on to say, “He told me to kill my unborn child.”

Hawthorn responded to the allegations Wednesday morning.

In a statement, the football club said: “Earlier this year, Hawthorn Football Club engaged external First Nations consultants to liaise with current and former First Nations players and staff to find out more about their experience at the club.

“This important work has raised disturbing historical allegations which require further investigation. Upon learning of these allegations, the club immediately engaged AFL Integrity, as appropriate.

“The club will continue to support those who have been part of this process, and their well-being remains our priority.

“While the process indicated that the club’s current environment is culturally safe, it also recommended that some of the club’s current First Nations training and development programs continue to be strengthened.

“The club places the best interests and well-being of our players and staff as our number one priority.

“As the matters raised are confidential, the club will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

The AFL also issued a statement to the ABC.

“The AFL is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate environment for all players and industry personnel, ensuring that physical, mental and emotional well-being is a key priority for all in our sport,” he said.

“The AFL takes extremely seriously all cases where people report that they have suffered harm, discrimination or mistreatment in our industry. We recently received a document from Hawthorn Football Club outlining very serious allegations collected during the recently completed review by an external consultant who interviewed current and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.

“The experiments described in the document are extremely serious and require a more thorough and comprehensive examination.

“The AFL is finalizing a process to investigate the allegations and has requested further details of those who have shared their experiences in order to move its investigation forward.

“The AFL is committed to ensuring that all those who have shared their experiences are fully supported throughout this process. The AFL will liaise with the parties to ensure appropriate support and cultural safety are in place in accordance with the wishes of those involved.

“We are committed to the well-being of all involved. Once we have spoken to those who have shared their experiences, we will be able to provide an update on the next steps in the investigation.

Former Hawks captain responds to ‘shocking’ allegations

Former Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge, who captained under Clarkson for the Hawks’ 2013-15 premiership hat-trick, said he was shocked and saddened by the allegations.

“It’s shocking,” Hodge told SEN.

“The first thing is ‘who are the players, can you contact them’, but the reason they were put under pseudonyms was because they wanted to be protected.

“They don’t want everyone talking about them or coming near them. They are suffering in private. At least now they have a voice and I hope a few people can chat with them and feel that they are supported.

When asked if he had ever been aware of the type of allegations mentioned in the report, Hodge replied: “Not to the extent of the terrible things in it.

“When you have 18, 19, 20 year olds who get drafted you always hear about breakups and if that’s the right thing, personally I’ve had a lot of private conversations with those guys, especially in the early days ( for me), it was “is it the right thing for me to go back to see my family and friends at Colac because of catching up and my diet wasn’t good and is it the best thing for my football”.

“So these conversations are happening every day in large groups and small groups and conversations, but I never heard anything to the extent of what was written in the article.”

Originally published as Damning racism report reveals shock allegations against Hawthorn