Former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has said he is “sorry for all” involved in the ongoing conflict with the club over former player Harriet Lumumba.
Despite playing his last game for the club in 2014, Lumumba was an outspoken critic of Collingwood’s culture, citing numerous examples of systematic racism that he seems to have endured during his 199 games for Magpies.
The allegations of systematic racism he made in Collingwood were substantiated by the ‘Do Better’ report that rocked the club and prompted McGuire’s resignation last year, ending his 23-year term as club president.
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After Lumumba’s latest move – the release of a recorded conversation with then-coach Nathan Buckley – McGuire said he still hoped for a reunion at some point.
“I’m sorry for everyone,” he told Nine’s Footy classified.
“I was very close to Heritage and did not speak to her on any terms other than pure love and affection during the journey. That means nothing at the moment.
“I feel exactly that way. I hope the door is still a bit open for Heritage’s return. I think the welcome mat is still out, but it’s his privilege.”
“It simply came to our notice then.
McGuire revealed that he had not spoken to the 35-year-old “probably in five or six years” but insisted that if he wanted to return one day, he would be welcomed to Collingwood with open arms.
“No one has ever fought it. No one has tried to prove that they are or are not,” he said.
“We want the place to be a happy place. I wouldn’t have liked anything more if Heritage had been able to come back for a while so that we could all look back at the 2010 Premiership, the years that were all together.
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“I’ve seen a lot of people at football clubs who were upset for whatever reason, right or wrong, and then left (back to the clubs).
“If Heritage wants to come, she might think there are some people who want to hate her, not there.”
Despite the mistakes that have been made in Collingwood in the past, McGuire is confident that progress has been made in the cultural space.
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“I think the club is doing great now,” he said.
“The Do Better report was commissioned by me and our board. It was leaked but it was going to be presented. The only reason it was not presented was because there were actual errors that we wanted so that no one would be right.” It could come back. So it wasn’t something to hide or anything like that.
“The club lent it and basically because we wanted to find out what’s going on … whether it’s completely correct or partially correct from Heritage, we actually lent it in a big way.
“We’ve kept everything the experts say. Jeff Brown’s board is out now and we’ve got experts from RMIT and everywhere else to run it.
“Collingwood Football Club, I would argue, has got the systems right now – it’s the systemic part. It’s not like we were doing something different to someone else, they weren’t like us to anyone else.”
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