Chris Fagan has denied he was at the alleged meeting where a former Hawthorn player was pressured into having his partner’s pregnancy terminated for the sake of the player’s career, according to veteran journalist Caroline Wilson.
It comes in response to shock allegations from a report by the ABC’s Russell Jackson about the treatment of First Nations players at the Hawks during their golden era under Alastair Clarkson where the club won four premierships from 2008-2015 — allegations the AFL will appoint an independent panel to launch its own external investigation into.
The accusations include newly named North Melbourne boss Clarkson and Brisbane Lions mentor Fagan, who was Hawthorn’s former footy manager at the time, sitting down the aforementioned player and urging him to terminate the pregnancy.
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Both coaches have been stood down by their respective clubs while the AFL probe takes place, delaying Clarkson’s planned November 1 start date at Arden Street, while in written statements denied they were consulted during the investigation.
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Speaking on Channel 9’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night, Wilson revealed Fagan’s different version of events from one of the most confronting claims.
“Chris Fagan and people close to him are not sure he was actually at the meeting, and I think Chris Fagan has told the Brisbane Lions that he doesn’t recall it,” she said.
“The truth will come out, so obviously there are different versions of events.
“As we keep saying they’re allegations, but both those men were part of the three premierships in a row and one a few years earlier that Clarkson was also involved in — they’ve (the flags) been tainted in my view.
“So much went on behind the scenes, to hear the captain (Luke Hodge) say he had no idea it was going on. Even close teammates said they had no idea. What goes on at football clubs and how much do people ever really know?”
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd added: “Interesting though it says Chris Fagan was in the room, Chris Fagan is saying he doesn’t know and wasn‘t there. That’s how tricky and difficult a situation this is.”
Wilson highlighted that the report was originally commissioned by Hawthorn following allegations made by club legend Cyril Rioli earlier this year regarding how he was treated, with the intention of talking to First Nations players and officials at the club at the time.
She therefore argued that Clarkson didn’t need to be a part of the Hawthorn review, however former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire believes he and Fagan should’ve been alerted after the “blistering allegations” were given to the AFL “out of courtesy.”
The report states that all parties were eventually contacted, with Jackson taking to social media to back up such claims.
“Eddie McGuire has attempted to smear my reputation here and I will not stand for it,” Jackson posted on Twitter.
“I sent detailed questions to Chris Fagan’s Lions email address with 24 hours’ notice. He didn’t respond to my email, nor when I called his phone and left a message offering him more time.”
Wilson also reported the independent four-person panel will be announced either Thursday and Friday and be made up of two women and two Indigenous representatives.
“They’ve (AFL) learnt their lesson from the Adelaide camp review where basically a group of Indigenous players including Karl Amon, Steven May and Shaun Burgoyne spoke to (Gillon) McLachlan about the fact that those Adelaide players were really being reviewed by ex-white cops,” she said.
“The hope is this investigation into these allegations will be completed within two months.
“If these allegations are proven, Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan will not coach again.”