Collingwood mends fences with Indigenous icons

Just three months after severing their ties with the club, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer have both reunited with Collingwood.

Both Davis and Krakouer will be employed by the club on a full-time basis after discussions with the board about their personal experiences with racism during their playing days at the club.

The duo’s roles will see them assist the club in building a “culturally safe environment” for all of Collingwood’s staff and players.

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“I have shared that I have experienced instances of racism in my playing days,” Davis said in a club statement, in part.

“Unfortunately, these instances weren’t my first as I have experienced racism from a very young age. So too have members of my family and hearing my father’s stories of racism and what he experienced is something that drives me to make change and ensure we all do better.

“This is a community issue, a nation-wide issue and ultimately a world issue and we must do better to stop racism. I am pleased to have a role where I am now encouraged to implement and drive cultural change and know I have the full support of all those at the club in doing so.

“l want to use my experiences of racism to better educate the community and better equip everyone with the knowledge, tools and education around our country’s true history and why we still face the issues we do in today’s society.”

“I want my children to grow in an environment where there are no barriers to achieving success,” Krakouer added in the statement.

“I want my community to be strong and to be proud and I want the game of Australian football – the game I love – to be welcoming of First Nations people at all times, on and off the field and in the stands.

“I want us to keep striving to be better.”

The duo’s return to Collingwood comes after they had joined former teammate Heritier Lumumba in ceasing communication with the club in April, refusing to engage in the club’s truth telling exercise.

According to The Age, Collingwood board member Jodie Sizer and social impact and policy general manager Taryn Lee were key figures in helping mend fences with the two players.

Collingwood president Jeff Browne said the club was driven to “ensure past mistakes are not repeated”.

“The hurt racism causes runs deeper than the individuals involved so I want to thank both Leon and Andrew for speaking up about their experiences – it can be incredibly difficult for people who experience racism to share it and speak about it,” Browne said in the statement.

“We are extremely grateful to have Leon and Andrew reconnecting and returning to the club as employees to help continue to embed the cultural learning and practices across all 156 athletes in our club, our staff and the wider Collingwood community and we look forward to having them begins in those roles immediately.

“As a club, to go back and reflect on where we got things wrong, and to understand the perspective of the persons who have been impacted, is vitally important.”

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