Eddie McGuire is proud that the Collingwood Magpies AFL club has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal due to the public reaction to a report which exposed a history of systemic racism at the club.
Collingwood becomes the second AFL club, and only the fourth football club, to be nominated for the highly prestigious award, which is normally reserved for individual players.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.
McGuire is the long-standing president of the club and says he is not sorry that Collingwood is in contention for the most coveted award in Australian sport.
“Collingwood is the greatest sports team on earth, and it deserves to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal. We are very proud that years of racism, and our failure to address this toxic culture, have finally been recognised by judges of The Frownlow Medal.”
“Racism like this doesn’t exist in isolation. It has to be accepted, brushed aside, laughed off and legitimised by players, fans, coaches, officials and even senior management, and very few clubs have done this as well as my club.”
McGuire is also pleased to be the centre of attention once again, and to be the public face of a nomination which would normally elude him.
“I never played the game at a high level myself,” he explained, “so this is the only way I was ever going to be part of a nomination. Even when I joked that a female journalist should be drowned, or said Adam Goodes should promote King Kong, I couldn’t get nominated, so to be part of this latest scandal is fantastic – I feel like a million dollars”
The history of racism was recently exposed via the leak of a report called ‘Do Better’. The report was commissioned by Collingwood in an attempt to uncover the extent of racism at the club, and was also prompted by statements from former player Heritier Lumumba. Lumumba is of African descent and claimed on numerous occasions that he was subject to racist abuse while playing for the Magpies.
“Many players have been nominated for toxic masculinity, but no other club has earned a Frownlow nomination for toxic racism,” continued Mcguire.
The only other clubs to be nominated are AFL club West Coast Eagles, for a racist tweet, and NRL clubs Cronulla Sharks and South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Sharks were nominated when most of their players were kicked out of a club for drunken, anti-social behaviour, and the Rabbioths for covering up the off-field scandal of Sam Burgess.
Colingwood are now in the running for the most prestigious award in Australian sport, while McGuire is tipped to host the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, to be held later this year.