‘It is confronting’: Buckley reflects in wake of Collingwood racism review

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says the club does not want a repeat of racist incidents that have occurred at the club in the last 50 years and the impact the environment had on former players Leon Davis, Andrew Krakouer and Heritier Lumumba.

He said it was difficult to hear Davis and Krakouer air the personal experiences they had as players at the club but he is learning to “stop, listen, acknowledge and seek to understand the experiences of people who feel like they had been diminished in the environment”.

Pies coach Nathan Buckley addresses the media.Credit:Getty Images

Buckley said the club knew it needed to improve its approach to dealing with players from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island or multicultural backgrounds and that he had spent time reflecting from a personal perspective on his time at the club.

“One of the things that you need to consider with that is becoming more conscious of that reality and more open-minded and open-hearted to being challenged by it,” Buckley said.

“It hasn’t been a period we have breezed through, clearly, so whatever the public front or facade of it is and the challenge that comes through the media … the reality is how we feel in here and it is confronting to know that people you love and respect so much have felt that way.”

Buckley also addressed questions about his future as he enters the final year of his contract, saying he still felt he had plenty to offer the Magpies, but any decision would be made in the best interests of his club.

“Whether I had a year to run, two years to run, three years to run, whether it was a media headline or whether it wasn’t, the reality still stands that whatever is best for the club will happen and should happen,” Buckley said.

“I still have belief that my contribution to this place can be really positive.”

Buckley said he would only mention Adam Treloar in the lead-up to the game against the Bulldogs in the context of trying to curb his influence as a midfielder.

He admitted that the club could have handled last year’s trade period better but said it would not have changed their decision indicating that the ends justified the means.

“The decisions that we made might not have been executed right but they were the ones that we knew that we needed to make but that was then,” Buckley said.

“‘Ads’ is a fantastic footballer and he will continue on in his career and I wish him all the best but if he plays this week I hope he doesn’t get a touch.”

Buckley said the rule changes would result in more attacking opportunities for clubs and the most efficient teams in attack would be the teams that prevailed.

“It’s about time for defences to be broken down and I think the rule changes and the interchange cap are going to make that a very real possibility,” Buckley said.

Having traded out Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavulagi and retiring several senior players, the Magpies are not expected to contend for the flag after finishing sixth in 2020.

Buckley said despite the predictions he could see plenty of opportunities for the Magpies to improve.

“Our most important and significant players, nearly all of them had broken seasons last year and we think there is natural a growth from that,” Buckley said.

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