Flat White

Eddie McGuire tried to smoke an exploding cigar. Why is he surprised at what happened?

2 February 2021

3:45 PM

2 February 2021

3:45 PM

The Collingwood Football Club is like the man who ordered an exploding cigar and then smoked the exploding cigar only to be caught by surprise when it exploded in his face.

What did they think would happen when they commissioned Indigenous activists to investigate whether or not their AFL club was racist?

A 35-page report on racism, written by academics with a history of race activism, found evidence of “systemic” and “egregious” racism. 

Who would have thought? 

I’m not sure how a list of six racist incidents over the past 50 years, detailed in the report, amounts to systemic anything.

Unacceptable? Definitely.

Regrettable? Of course.

Evidence that Collingwood is the AFL equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan? Hardly.

But let’s be honest, it’s difficult to imagine any organisation that would not be called racist in the current environment where Critical Race Theory insists that no white man can do any good, no matter how hard he tries.

The report, entitled Do Better, began by asserting that “if racism is endemic through the broader community, it is not surprising to find it within institutions such as sporting clubs”.

So there you have it.

Investigators seeing racism everywhere were invited to run their eye over Collingwood and saw racism everywhere.

That the authors felt the need to begin their report by acknowledging the “elders and their ancestors” upon whose land the report was typed was an early clue that the Club’s attempt to get some honest feedback was always going to be hijacked by a politically driven agenda.  

I’m not sure about systemic racism, but there was certainly naivety at the board level.

And Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, calling the release of the report “a proud day” for Collingwood, deserves a special award of his own.

He is now the subject of a massive social media campaign calling for his resignation. Even a one-eyed — one toothed — supporter saw that coming. 

And Australia’s most famous sporting club is now stuck with recommendations that may well hinder their core business, but that they cannot reject.

Those recommendations include ensuring that players and coaches are recruited, not simply for their footballing ability, but for their ethnicity — “particularly First Nations and people of colour”.

From now on it will concern Collingwood recruiters that they need a key position player to kick goals just as much as that they need an Indigenous player to tick boxes.

And when drafting white players, the club will have to ensure these young men can run and jump and kick as well as express “genuine support of anti-racism”. 

Further, the club will now be expected to “undertake an audit to ensure its membership, though their behaviour and beliefs, reflect its goals of diversity”.

How the “beliefs” of Collingwood supporters will be audited the report does not say, but an Expert Group on Anti-Racism will be formed to ensure the thought-audit happens.

Collingwood smoked the cigar and, predictably, it blew up in their face. Now they must live with the mess.

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