AFL great Luke Hodge says Hawthorn report into alleged racism a ‘shock to the system’

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Former Hawthorn triple premiership skipper Luke Hodge has said helium is shocked by allegations First Nations players were mistreated by the club, including distressing claims they were separated from their families.

The ABC connected Wednesday reported the contents of a Hawthorn-commissioned reappraisal based connected interviews with First Nations players, with the ABC’s study including an allegation that Hawthorn pressured 1 mates to terminate a pregnancy.

Appearing connected vigor presumption SEN connected Wednesday morning, Hodge said speechmaking the study had been “very uncomfortable” and the “terrible” allegations were a “shock to the system”.

“It was a pugnacious read, there’s nary doubt,” helium said. “I deliberation anyone who goes done that, it’s uncomfortable to spell done and read. Your archetypal thought goes to the players who went done it and the partners and the families that went done it due to the fact that it doesn’t substance what your occupation is, it’s ever household first.”

The AFL has announced an outer autarkic sheet led by a King’s Counsel volition investigate the allegations, portion the Hawks referred the study to the league.

Hodge said helium was not antecedently alert of the allegations oregon “anything to the grade of what was written successful the article”.

“When you person 18, 19, 20-year-old kids getting drafted, you ever perceive astir break-ups and whether it’s the close thing,” helium said.

“Personally, I’ve had a batch of backstage conversations with those guys [club staff]. Especially aboriginal connected [for me], it was [them asking] is it the close happening for maine to spell backmost and spot household and friends successful Colac, due to the fact that … my fare wasn’t great, and, ‘Is it the champion happening for my football?’”

Those conversations were “totally different” to the situations described by the erstwhile First Nations players, helium said.

He said the alleged experiences of the players and their partners were intolerable for him to imagine.

“There were immoderate precise unfastened and ruthless things that were [allegedly] told to these young kids, some the subordinate and their partner,” helium said.

Asked if the claims had made him second-guess his clip astatine the club, Hodge said “we had a batch of palmy years, but astatine this signifier that’s irrelevant due to the fact that of what young blokes were told oregon what they were enactment through”.

“When you get drafted by a shot club, it’s expected to beryllium an breathtaking clip of your life,” helium said. “It’s expected to be, ‘My beingness has changed, present I person a pathway for the adjacent 10 to 15 years, hopefully.’ That’s not what [allegedly] happened with these young kids.”

Hodge noted the nine had commissioned the reappraisal aft erstwhile First Nations Hawks prima Cyril Rioli made allegations successful April of racist treatment by the club.

Hodge said helium had initially wondered who the players were and whether helium could get successful interaction with them but noted “the crushed they were enactment nether aliases was due to the fact that they privation to beryllium protected”.

“They’re hurting successful private,” helium said.

The AFL Players’ Association president and Geelong midfielder, Patrick Dangerfield, besides responded to the “disturbing” allegations.

“Players enactment a batch of religion successful the radical astatine shot clubs, that they person their champion interests astatine bosom and rather intelligibly shot is simply a portion of that, but it shouldn’t ever beryllium conscionable shot alone,” helium said.

Dangerfield said helium felt it would person been “extraordinarily difficult” for the players to speech astir the alleged events with their teammates “because you enactment truthful overmuch trust” successful the club.

He said it was important the allegations were decently investigated. “Quite clearly, we haven’t done our occupation arsenic we should person arsenic an industry. It should ne'er person gotten to this.”