The Brisbane Lions say they will stand behind Chris Fagan after he was named in Hawthorn’s report about the treatment of First Nations players.
Fagan took leave from his role as senior coach after last week’s media reports which detailed disturbing treatment of several past Hawks players by club higher-ups. Fagan, then-coach Alastair Clarkson and then-development manager Jason Burt were all named in the report.
Fagan has specifically denied being at a meeting where a player was allegedly pressured into having his partner’s pregnancy terminated, according to one report, while categorically denying any wrongdoing in a media statement.
Watch every match of the AFLW Season LIVE on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
In the report, a then-Hawthorn assistant coach reportedly backed up some elements of the alleged discrimination taking place.
On Sunday Brisbane released a statement from chairperson Andrew Wellington which saw the club throw its support behind Fagan.
Wellington described Fagan as “a role model, a mentor and a father figure” during his time at the club and said he had “worked hard to ensure our club provides a culturally safe environment for everyone”.
Fagan was not spoken to for the Hawthorn report, because it was not an investigation but an attempt to let Indigenous players speak their truth.
The AFL is yet to confirm the panel who will conduct an independent investigation of the claims, with CEO Gill McLachlan flagging a months-long process on AFL 360 last week.
Fagan, Clarkson (who was to become North Melbourne coach on November 1), Burt and AFL Commission member and ex-Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold have all taken leave from their roles during the investigation.
FULL LIONS STATEMENT
Since Chris Fagan arrived at the Brisbane Lions in October 2016, he has been more than just our Head Coach. He has been a role model, a mentor, and a father figure.
He has played a key role in steering our Club into the strong position it’s in today; integral to our success on and off the field.
In all of my dealings with Chris over the past six years, he has always made the welfare of our players and staff an utmost priority.
Chris has been a great supporter of all of our players and their families and has worked hard to ensure our Club provides a culturally safe environment for everyone.
We stand by Chris as he commits himself to be part of the AFL investigation, which gives him procedural fairness, into allegations concerning historical events at the Hawthorn Football Club, where he was a former employee.
Chris has categorically denied any wrongdoing. It has been a distressing and difficult week for Chris, his wife Ursula, and his family, as it has for many, and we strongly support his right to a fair, impartial, and independent investigative process.