Australian radio and television presenter Eddie McGuire has announced he will be stepping down as Collingwood president, a role he’s held for 22 years, effective immediately. The 56-year-old made the announcement in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“I try my best and I don’t always get it right, but I don’t stop trying,” he said. “Today, effective immediately, I step down from the presidency of the Collingwood Football Club.”
Eddie’s decision to step down comes after he faced severe backlash last week over his response to the Do Better report on systemic racism at the club. According to The Guardian, the report found that the popular AFL club “had often acted defensively and ‘doubled down’ when racist incidents were aired in the media”. At the time, Eddie called it a “proud day” for the club.
Speaking about last week’s incident in the press conference on Tuesday, Eddie backed his comments, saying: “This is why I say we are not a racist club, far from it. It is why I’m so proud of our club and the people every day of every week who benefit and who are inspired by the very purpose of the being of Collingwood and that is to be a beacon of hope for all people, particularly those at their lowest ebb or who have been socially isolated and left behind.”
A clearly emotional Eddie ended his speech with: “So I leave knowing one thing for certain, that in every endeavour my heart has been true, that my devotion to fairness [has] grown, that never have I turned my back on anyone who has asked for support. When I have been called upon by the AFL to play a leadership role then I have always acted in the best interests of the competition.”
According to The Age, Eddie was originally planning to step down at the end of 2021.
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