Incoming Hawthorn president Peter Nankivell has spoken openly on the Hawks’ racism review that has caused waves across the AFL industry.
While Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan have returned to North Melbourne and Brisbane respectively following the bombshell allegations, the findings of the AFL’s investigation are expected to wield significant ramifications.
Reports from The Age late on Monday suggest Hawthorn failed in mediation talks with numerous First Nations families. Nankivell seemingly confirmed that initial discussions weren’t successful but did suggest the club’s efforts would be ongoing in that space.
“My background is as a lawyer, I’ve been a lawyer for 35 years I’ve worked in Royal Commission, I’ve been across major disputes,” Nankivell began on SEN’s Whateley when asked what an adequate resolution would entail.
“When you step back, it’s getting people in the room together.
“The Hawthorn Football Club – and it was reported this morning – we did try to get some mediation discussions underway, but it was very preliminary and talking with the lawyers.
“I think one of the most positive aspects of the terms of reference that have been produced by the AFL is the opportunity for mediation.
“I’m hoping that if participants come forward and come forward, we’ll have that opportunity to sit in the room.”
Nankivell said further: “This is proving a very difficult and complex process, without a doubt.
“The AFL has worked extremely hard through the panel and terms of reference to try and come up with a culturally sensitive and safe way for the complaints to participate.
“I can only hope that that happens and I can assure you (and everyone)… that we are and will continue to be constructive and engaged and participate in this to try and get the best outcome for all.”
Hawthorn’s initial report, which then prompted an ABC report and AFL investigation, reportedly advised the club it should provide monetary compensation to affected First Nations players, as well as a public apology.
Nankivell suggested this would be the case as the review continues.
“I think it’s the nature of a despite in the sense of what happens in a dispute is the complainants present and tell their story and their hurt… we and those that have had allegations made against them have the chance to respond,” he stated.
“There will be no winners here, everyone is going to walk away hurting and we have to take whatever steps we can to try and minimise that hurt.”
Meanwhile, the president-elect was also questioned whether the club could be sanctioned.
While he told the Herald Sun the club was aware it could face penalties, including fines and the loss of draft picks, Nankivell – speaking on Tuesday morning – softened his approach.
“That’s a hypothetical question and I think the hypothetical question is not worth answering in this context,” he said on possible sanctions.
“We’re in a process and we’ve got a long way to go.”
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