Eddie McGuire has stepped down as president of the Collingwood Magpies following the disastrous fallout of the Do Better report.
The report, published in The Age last Monday, revealed the club had been guilty of systemic racism, yet when McGuire and other members of the club’s management fronted the press later that afternoon, he opened by saying it was a “historic and proud day for the Collingwood Football Club“.
McGuire apologised for his comments the following day at the Magpies’ annual general meeting, but an open letter calling for his immediate resignation was released earlier on Tuesday. It had more than 70 signatories, including a number of politicians and Indigenous leaders.
McGuire became president of Collingwood in 1998, and had already announced his plans to step down from the role at the end of the 2021 season, but decided to bring that forward in the aftermath of last week.
“I don’t think continuing is either fair or tenable for the community,” McGuire said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“People have latched on to my opening line last week and as a result I have become a lightning rod for criticism but have placed the club in a position where it is hard to move forward with our plans of clear air.”
However, McGuire made no mention in his statement of Heritier Lumumba, the former Magpie whose claims of racism at the club were what led to the commissioning of the Do Better report.
McGuire’s 22 years in charge of the club did contain on-field success, with Collingwood winning the AFL premiership in 2010 and making four further grand finals, but they were also punctuated by a number of comments from the president which rightly attracted significant criticism.
In 2013, after Adam Goodes was racially abused by a Collingwood supporter, McGuire said on radio that the Swans superstar should be used to promote the musical King Kong, while in 2016 he said he’d pay $50,000 to see columnist Caroline Wilson held underwater.