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Ex-Magpie to sue over AFL racism claims

Former Collingwood Magpies star Heritier Lumumba is set to take his claims of racist abuse against his former club to the courts.A 199-game veteran of the club over a decade, before ending his 223-game AFL career with the Melbourne Demons in 2016, has been an outspoken critic of the club in recent months.Watch the 2020…

Former Collingwood Magpies star Heritier Lumumba is set to take his claims of racist abuse against his former club to the courts.

A 199-game veteran of the club over a decade, before ending his 223-game AFL career with the Melbourne Demons in 2016, has been an outspoken critic of the club in recent months.

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Documents were reportedly filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday, alleging a “duty of care” breach by Collingwood in providing a safe workplace.

“On numerous occasions during his employment, the plaintiff was subjected to racial abuse or racially-offensive conduct,” the court documents read.

“[Collingwood] failed to take any or any sufficient steps to provide and maintain a safe working environment, including by protecting the plaintiff from racial abuse or racially-offensive conduct.

“By reason of the matters set out above, the plaintiff has suffered loss, damage, and injury including trauma, humiliation, distress, and loss of enjoyment.”

Lumumba said the racial abuse stopped when he was traded to the Demons, and the documents don‘t reveal any specific incidents of racial vilification.

However, Lumumba has been active on social media with allegations of racism during his time with the Magpies, where he was reportedly given the nickname “Chimp”.

In June, Magpies president Eddie Maguire said he had “never heard” the nickname, but the claims were backed up by retired Pies Chris Dawes and Brent Macaffer as well as former Demons coach Paul Roos.

Brazilian-born Lumumba demanded an apology from his former club, saying he believed there was a “culture of racist jokes” at Collingwood.

The Magpies announced an independent review into the claims from Lumumba but the 2010 All-Australian and premiership winner with the club said he had no intention of being a part of the investigation, accusing Collingwood of “covering up” his story for years.

“Collingwood’s suggestion that it will ‘investigate’ itself after actively denying my story for 6 years is frankly insulting. Senior people in the club have known the truth this whole time and chose a cover-up over transparency,“ he wrote during a Twitter thread in June.

“I have no desire to convince Collingwood of a truth that they already know. Given the club’s inability to come clean, and the way it has attempted to publicly and privately attack my reputation, I cannot accept that this ‘integrity’ process has been proposed in good faith.”

Lumumba had previously called out his experiences of racism in football during SBS documentary “Fair Game”, where Lumumba claimed: “Australian football culture is a white culture … and nothing taught me that better than the Collingwood Football Club.”

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