An external review has revealed that First Nations players were subjected to racism and bullying by staff members at Hawthorn.
In several interviews with the ABC, onetime players revealed how they were pressured by former coaches including Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan to choose between their families and job.
The review was commissioned by Hawthorn and has now been handed over to the AFL integrity unit, but the lengthy report has been detailed by the ABC which said that in one instance a player named “Ian” was told to terminate his child and move out the house he shared with his partner “Amy”.
“It was so intimidating, confusing and upsetting,” he said.
“Clarkson just leaned over me and demanded that I needed to get rid of my unborn child and my partner.
“I was then manipulated and convinced to remove my SIM card from my phone, so there was no further contact between my family and me.
“They told me I’d be living with one of the other coaches from that night onwards.”
Ian did so and for several months, before being able to return back to Amy following his decline in mental health and relentless campaigning from Amy.
When the couple reunited they found out six months after the birth of their first child that she was pregnant, but in fear of going through a similar situation, terminated the pregnancy despite her mother’s best efforts urging her not to go through with it.
“To this day, I haven’t been able to completely forgive myself. I often wonder what life would have been like if I had just listened to my mother or followed through with walking out of the hospital that day. It’s a decision I have made in my life that I will always regret.”
“This is a sacred thing, the bond between a mother and a child, and Hawthorn wiped their feet all over that.
“Hawthorn says it’s the family club. Yet they tore ours apart.”
The couple eventually broke up with Amy saying Hawthorn “broke his spirit as a proud Aboriginal man”.
Hawthorn released an official statement detailing that they could not delve into details over confidentiality reasons but that “the best interests and welfare of our players and staff… [are] our number one priority”.
Also in response to the allegations, the Brisbane Lions announced that coach Chris Fagan would take a leave of absence as investigations carry on.