Nathan Buckley says his “conscience is clear” despite being the subject of explosive new claims from former Collingwood star Heritier Lumumba about his time at the club.
Just weeks after confirming he was walking away from talks with his former club, Lumumba made a number of fresh new claims which were detailed in a Herald Sun report.
Included in the report was an allegation from the 35-year-old that an assistant coach used a pornographic image in a team meeting during Buckley’s tenure as coach.
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Buckley was specifically targeted in the report, with Lumumba claiming the former Magpies coach was “instrumental in punishing a black player for speaking out about racism”.
While Buckley conceded that he could’ve handled certain issues better, he stopped short of confirming any of Lumumba’s claims.
“I’m not going to be drawn into detail and I’m not going to say that Heritier’s right here, wrong here because that is his perspective of the truth,” Buckley told SEN Breakfast.
“But there are other versions of the truth that are a long way away from the way that he perceives it.
“Mine is very different from what he presents, but the context becomes important and the whole idea of the process is to have open dialogue, respectful dialogue so that you can actually move forward in a positive way.
“It seems that Heritier doesn’t really want to move forward unless, I don’t know, heads need to roll. I don’t know exactly what he’s looking for or what his requirements are to feel like he has been heard.
“He has been apologised to – I’ve apologised to him; the club has apologised to him … for the environment that he’s been in – and not just Heritier – but the other indigenous players that have come through.”
Buckley continued: “I haven’t been perfect as a leader. I haven’t been perfect as a person.
“I consciously thought of this – I put my head on the pillow last night and I slept well because I know that I have owned my imperfections and I’ve owned the things that I’m responsible for.
“My conscience is clear in that regard – it doesn’t mean I’ve been perfect, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done things better – but I’m open-minded to continue to learn and I think the club is as well.”
Lumumba’s latest claims about his time at Collingwood, where he was a part of the club’s drought-breaking 2010 premiership team, come just days after he said the club “cannot be trusted” to deliver change.
Lumumba accused the Magpies of “arrogance and incompetence” over the club’s handling of the explosive Do Better report, which revealed systemic racism at the club and led to long-time president Eddie McGuire’s resignation.
Lumumba also accused Collingwood’s legal representatives of being “disrespectful and culturally ignorant” at a meeting designed to establish a path towards reconciliation.
The latest report targets Buckley as well as McGuire and former club chief Gary Pert.
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