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Eddie McGuire is absolutely gutted

The former AFL star doubled down on criticism of how his old club handled allegations of racism and on Tuesday leaked audio of a meeting with Nathan Buckley from 2014, where the ex-Magpies coach accuses him of throwing then-club President Eddie McGuire “under the bus”. The audio leak came after Lumumba levelled a series of new allegations of misconduct at the Magpies, including the use of a pornographic image in a 2014 team meeting by an assistant coach.McGuire addressed the saga while hosting Footy Classified on Wednesday night, saying he was saddened by everything going on.“It’s just really sad … I’m sad for everybody,” McGuire said.“I was very close with Heritier and have not spoken to him in any other terms other than pure love and affection over the journey. That means nothing at the moment — that’s not a criticism or anything, that’s just the way I feel.“I hope the door is still a little bit ajar, at some stage, for Heritier to come back. I think the welcome mat is out still but it’s his prerogative.“Really, really sad.“There’s nothing to be said anymore on this. The only thing I want to see going forward is if at some stage there is some way we can make things come together.”McGuire added he hasn’t spoken to Lumumba for “five or six years” but said he believes the club is taking the right steps when it comes to addressing possible racial issues.“I think the club is doing great things now,” McGuire said.“The Do Better report was commissioned by me and our board. It got leaked, but it was going to be presented. The only reason why it wasn’t presented was because there were factual errors in there that we wanted to have right so that nobody could come back at it. So there was no hiding it or anything else like that.“The club lent into this and largely because we wanted to find out what was going on … whether it was completely right from Heritier or partly right or whatever, we actually lent into this in a big way.“The club is doing great things. We have put in place everything that experts have asked. Jeff Browne’s board now has gone out and got experts from RMIT (University) and everywhere else to drive this.“Collingwood Football Club, I’d argue, has now got the systems right — that’s the systemic part. It wasn’t that we were doing anything different to anybody else, we just didn’t have them like no one else.“Collingwood now has really moved forward of everyone and people who are down there at the club are serious about it, and always have been, and if there were mistakes along the way, people were happy to (take action).”McGuire holds out hope Lumumba could one day return to the club, saying he would be warmly welcomed back.“No one’s ever been at war with this. No one’s been trying to prove that they’re not this or not that,” he said. “We want the place to be a happy place.“I’d love nothing more than if Heritier was able to come back some time so that we could all look back on the 2010 premiership, the years of fun that everybody had together, the great times, the highlights.“I’ve seen a lot of people in football clubs who have been embittered for whatever reason, right or wrong, and down the track go, ‘A big part of my life has been missed here’.“I think if Heritier was to turn up, he might think there are people that want to hate him. There’s not.”Lumumba has spoken out repeatedly over an alleged racist culture he says existed at Collingwood during his time with the club. He says there was a culture of “racist jokes” and alleges he was referred to as “Chimp” by teammates.Lumumba, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer formally severed ties completely with the club last month over its handling of allegations of racism.Buckley responded to Lumumba’s claims on radio on Monday morning on SEN, saying: “I’m not going to be drawn into detail and I’m not going to say that Heritier’s right here, wrong here because that is his perspective of the truth.“But there are other versions of the truth that are a long way away from the way that he perceives it.“Mine is very different from what he presents, but the context becomes important and the whole idea of the process is to have open dialogue, respectful dialogue so that you can actually move forward in a positive way.“It seems that Heritier doesn’t really want to move forward unless, I don’t know, heads need to roll. I don’t know exactly what he’s looking for or what his requirements are to feel like he has been heard.“He has been apologised to – I’ve apologised to him; the club has apologised to him … for the environment that he’s been in – and not just Heritier – but the other Indigenous players that have come through.“I haven’t been perfect as a leader. I haven’t been perfect as a person.“I consciously thought of this – I put my head on the pillow last night and I slept well because I know that I have owned my imperfections and I’ve owned the things that I’m responsible for.“My conscience is clear in that regard – it doesn’t mean I’ve been perfect, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done things better – but I’m open-minded to continue to learn and I think the club is as well.”

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