Behrendt to lead Magpies' racism probe

Professor Larissa Behrendt will leads Collingwood's probe into alleged racism at the AFL club.
Professor Larissa Behrendt will leads Collingwood's probe into alleged racism at the AFL club.

Collingwood have appointed distinguished professor Larissa Behrendt to lead the investigation into allegations of racism levelled at the AFL club by former player Heritier Lumumba, expecting it to produce a "full and frank account".

The Magpies' integrity committee is examining Lumumba's assertions that he was subjected to racial slurs, including the nickname Chimp, during his 10-year playing career at the club.

Lumumba, who was traded to Melbourne at the end of the 2014 season, has previously said he won't take part in the investigation, which he considers insulting and an attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.

It remains to be seen whether Berendt's appointment will change his stance.

Behrendt is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman and research director at the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology, Sydney.

In 2009, Behrendt was named NAIDOC Person of the Year and this year was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her service to the law, Indigenous education and the arts.

"It has become increasingly clear that in Heritier's time we were unable to understand his experience; see and hear what he saw and heard," Collingwood director Peter Murphy said.

"This lack of cultural safety that he and others have recently spoken of is a matter of great concern.

"We are seeking to understand these experiences of racism and to ensure they have no place in the current Collingwood environment.

"We anticipate that Larissa Behrendt's work will result in a full and frank account of these experiences and produce a road map to inform Collingwood's future."

Australian Associated Press