Former Collingwood player Andrew Krakouer has opened up on a racial incident involving three teammates during his time with the Magpies.
Speaking to The Herald Sun, Krakouer revealed that a trio of unnamed players laughed at a joke at the expense of the Aboriginal people, before he confronted the group to discuss the meaning of the joke.
“I’ve got no interest in mentioning any names, but there was a group talking and I heard the word ‘b**ng’ come up,” he said.
“Straight away there were a number of emotions running through me. I was anxious, I was angry, I was annoyed — and in disbelief that I had just heard that in my own workplace and it was my own teammates who were making the racial slurs.
“They were having a bit of a laugh and I walked over and I said, ‘Would you guys mind telling me what is so funny?’
“They tried to sort of laugh it off and say, ‘It’s nothing, mate, don’t worry about it’, and I said, ‘No, actually, I just heard you guys say the word ‘b**ng’ and you’re laughing about it. I want to know what’s so funny’.”
One teammate explained the meaning of the joke to Krakouer, which left the 38-year-old “disgusted” and questioning his place at the Holden Centre.
“He told me that the word ‘b**ng’ came from back in the day when white Australians used to run over Aboriginal people in their car and that ‘b**ng’ was the sound the car made when it hit them,” Krakouer said.
“I was absolutely disgusted in that person’s response and the fact that it was funny to him and that it was a joke.
“These guys were my teammates and I had to play footy with them. It was a moment where I really thought to myself, ‘what am I doing here?’.
“I really wondered if this was where I should be working, because I felt that it was an unsafe place. It was a lot to process, and there are only a handful of people that I have ever told that story to.”
Collingwood have recently come under fire following a damning report that confirmed the club was riddled with systemic racism.
Past players Heritier Lumumba and Leon Davis have both been vocal in reflecting on their time with the club, with Krakouer showing his support for the former Magpies duo.
“Lumumba and Leon are not alone,” Krakouer says.
“I stand with them 110 per cent. They are my brothers and I really feel it is important for me to share my story, too, but also to get it off my chest.
“It needs to be said. Racism, I believe, is a public health issue. It scars people, it changes people. It’s not just words, it’s systemic and really cuts deep. Enough is enough. We just want equitable opportunities to be healthy and thrive; people should get it by now. We’re just sick of it.”
The 2010 Sandover medallist spoke on how he felt restricted in gaining the help required to speak out on racism within the club and the Magpies’ reaction to the “Do Better” report.
“I didn’t really want to rock the boat and wasn’t confident there was a process that would address this incident in the right manner,” he said.
“I was pretty disappointed in how it all panned out. There were some excuses made and I still don’t think they really understand or acknowledge what has really happened, and the trauma that it has caused.
“I think we have to move beyond deciding if we call Collingwood a racist club or not.
“The fact is that Collingwood, just like Australia, has a long and well-documented history of racism that still needs to be addressed.
“Sadly, the senior managers of the football club lacked any desire to address the racism issue in a proper manner.”
Krakouer played 137 AFL matches across his career with Richmond and Collingwood between 2001 and 2013, booting 152 goals.