Heritier Lumumba has labelled Collingwood’s response to a damning report that uncovered systemic racism at the AFL club as “cowardice” and “delusional”.
An independent investigation – commissioned by the club’s board last year after consistent and long-standing allegations from Lumumba – found Collingwood guilty of a toxic culture of racism.
Lumumba, who starred in the Magpies’ last premiership in 2010, feels vindicated by the findings of the report after first raising the alarm on concerns at Collingwood in 2013.
But the 34-year-old believes Collingwood have learned nothing from the scandal after watching president Eddie McGuire at a club press conference on Monday addressing the findings.
McGuire opened the conference with a statement describing the release of the report as a “day of pride” and claimed the club was not racist.
“What I saw was a clear case of cowardice,” Lumumba told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.
“It was a clear case of a football club that is delusional.
“If that’s the way Collingwood wants to address (the release of) an independent report, that it did not want out there.
“I have been asking Collingwood football club since late last year when I knew they had the report, I have been asking them for it, but it was not given to me.
“It was actually sad I had to receive that from media sources.”
Lumumba says he does not hold McGuire “solely responsible” for the Collingwood’s culture but believes the long-serving president needs to take more accountability as leader of the club’s board.
“A lot of the responsibility falls on him. The performance he gave (on Monday) was cowardice,” Lumumba said.
“They keep pointing to courage and they’re the ones who are leading the charge (against racism); no they are absolutely not the ones leading the charge.
“It was simply living up to not taking accountability, not accepting the fact that the football club has caused serious harm, as the report says.
“I really don’t know where there really is to go now for the Collingwood football club and for Eddie McGuire.”
Lumumba chose not to participate in the club commissioned review but the ’Do Better’ report’s authors said there needed to be a serious investigation into his claims.
The 223-game AFL player said he was tired of explaining his experiences to Collingwood people and being met with “defensiveness”.
“I had endured all these years of being attacked and I’ve been so open and forthright with my personal testimony that I experienced at Collingwood,” he said.
“I thought there was absolutely no way that at a review or any sort of investigation would be conducted in good faith.”