There’s been confirmation four past Hawthorn players and families will speak to AFL investigators about the alleged Hawks racism scandal.
The First Nations families are the first to officially accept a role in the AFL’s bid to uncover the alleged reports of racism at the club between 2008 and 2016.
Just last week, the group had sent a letter to AFL chief Gillon McLachlan stating they wanted to take part in the investigation but had some conditions, including that the AFL “have a good hard look at itself” in regards to racism.
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But on Tuesday, the families’ lawyer confirmed they would take part in “good faith”.
“Our stories will be told and they will be heard,” they said in a statement.
“Change for the better is coming.
“We are utterly determined to make the AFL a safer place for all First Nations players and their families.
“We trust that as a further demonstration of its good faith commitment the AFL will now detail how and when it intends to commence this work, the terms of reference, who will undertake it, and if it will be open and transparent to the world,” they said in their latest statement.
“To the media and clubs who want to eliminate racism in AFL football, please hold the AFL to its commitment.
“We want the AFL to be realigned to the right side of history.”
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The AFL has committed to holding an investigation after the shocking claims that emerged in the ABC’ s Cultural Safety Review report which was made public grand final week.
In it were damning allegations of mistreatment of First Nations players and their families, with now North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson and Brisbane coach Chris Fagan some of the Hawks staffers at the centre of the claims.
Clarkson and Fagan have both strongly denied all the allegations.
On Saturday, the AFL released a statement committing to “running an independent investigation” into the claims, and providing a “supportive and respectful process” for those who come forward.
The AFL said it was committed to a “natural justice to those people against whom allegations of misconduct have been made”.
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One of the alleged victims Amy – not her real name – has already stated she will not take part in the AFL investigation over conflict concerns.
Incoming Hawthorn president Peter Nankivell this week said he was “hoping” the club would have the chance to sit down with the families.
“I think one of the most positive elements of the Terms of Reference (for the investigation) that have been produced by the AFL is the opportunity for mediation,” he said.
“I’m hoping if participants come forward, we’ll have that opportunity to sit in a room (together).”