Players from AFL, AFLW and netball teams release ‘sorry’ letter

Read more at www.theage.com.au

Moore said the players wanted to use their voices to ensure that Collingwood’s future was “better and more diverse” and that they would “champion that change”.

In the open letter, the 150 players said:

“Sorry.

“As athlete we are sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race.

“Through our silence we feel responsible for these injustices. We acknowledge it is not enough to simply show support for the principles of anti-racism and inclusion. We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together.

“Over the last 72 hours we have had the opportunity to digest the DO BETTER report. We also apologise to those members, fans and community who feel guilt and shame as a result of the systemic racism that has occurred within our organisation.

“To all the young people who dream about one day pulling on the black and white stripes, we pledge as athletes to continue to help create a club that allows ALL of us to thrive, regardless of race.”

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Moore said the players had found it easy to come together and pen the statement. He said the press conference that president Eddie McGuire began with a reference to a “proud and historic day” – comments were widely lambasted – was not their focus, because the issue of the report was bigger than that.

“This statement was written on behalf of all the athletes, by a cross-section who were startled, humiliated and shocked by the contents of the report on Monday, and we found out at the same time as everyone else,” Moore said.

“We want to let the community know and our fans and everyone know that we’re sorry about what it said.

“The content of the report was so jarring for us because we feel really proud of our culture, we feel really proud of what we do at the club, in 2021 – to hear that historically that hasn’t always been the case was jarring for us.

“We aren’t in charge of administrating the club, we aren’t in charge of the strategic direction of the club, but what we can do is use our voices to ensure that … the future is better and more diverse. We feel all really passionately about ensuring that the club continues down this direction and we’re going to champion that change.

“I don’t think, I know that none of us have had the experience of what was outlined in the report and we need it to stay that way.”

Asked about the McGuire-led press conference on Monday, Moore said: “This issue is bigger than that event. It’s about the contents of that report and that’s our focus and that’s the focus of our letter as well.

“We’re looking at history in the eye and taking it on and learning from it. We’re not shying away.”

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