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  • Writer's pictureDemi Lynch

AFL Coaches Allegedly Told A First Nations Player To Convince His Partner To Get An Abortion



**Trigger Warning: This story discusses pregnancy loss, self-harm and intergenerational trauma for First Nations people.**

Troubling stories about the mistreatment of First Nations people in AFL have become public after an external review was commissioned by the Hawthorn Football Club.


Between the years 2013 and 2015, First Nations players at Hawthorn were allegedly bullied by coaches and forced to ostracise themselves from their families for the sake of their careers.


The coaches involved in these troubling stories include former Hawthorn 'Senior Coach' Alastair Clarkson, former 'Player Development Manager' Jason Burt, and former Hawthorn 'General Manager of Football' and 'Head of Coaching and Development' Chris Fagan.


Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan during a Hawthorn game in 2015. Source: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

The coaches allegedly told a player name Ian* to convince his partner to terminate a pregnancy.


"Clarkson just leaned over me and demanded that I needed to get rid of my unborn child and my partner," says Ian*, "he told me to kill my unborn kid."


Ian* says he was "then manipulated and convinced to remove his SIM card from his phone, so there was no further contact" with his pregnant partner and children.


"They told me I’d be living with one of the other coaches from that night onwards," he says.


According to his partner, Amy*, the club wouldn't allow her to see or even communicate with her partner.


"[Burt] said Hawthorn had decided it was better for Ian's footy career if he didn't become a father," she says, "he was already a father!"


Other First Nations players at the club were also forcibly separated from their loved ones which led to mental health issues including attempted suicide.


The AFL has since released a statement saying they're "committed to providing a safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate environment for all players and staff."


"The AFL is finalising a process to investigate the allegations and has sought further details of those who shared their experiences in order to progress its investigation," the statement says, "the AFL is committed to ensuring all who shared their experiences are fully supported through this process.


In response to this troubling news, Fagan has taken a leave of absence from the Brisbane Lions as the Senior Coach.


The Brisbane football club says Fagan "supports and welcomes the investigation."


 

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