Eddie doubles down in bizarre exit announcement
Eddie McGuire has stood down as Collingwood president after the disastrous fallout from the club's report into historic racism.
McGuire had announced last year he would finish his tenure as Collingwood president at the end of the 2021 season.
As recently as last week's annual general meeting he had remained steadfast that he would not bow to pressure to call an early end to his Collingwood presidency.
But McGuire will announce at a press conference this afternoon that he will stand down effective immediately.
An open letter from community leaders called on McGuire to move on immediately in the wake of the report, which detailed systemic racism.
"We believe Eddie McGuire has proven himself incapable of leading the Collingwood Football Club through any meaningful transformation. We call on him to step down immediately," the letter read.
"We stand with Heritier Lumumba and his call for Collingwood to acknowledge its failure to prevent him from being subjected to racism by his teammates, as well as the decision by senior club figures, including Eddie McGuire and Nathan Buckley, to punish and discredit him when he spoke up against racism and came forward with his experiences.
McGuire's legacy will include the move to the Holden Centre and revitalisation of the club after he took over as a news reporter and The Footy Show host.
But there have also been a series of gaffes and controversies including his King Kong reference to Adam Goodes that have tarnished his legacy.
McGuire: "This is why I say we're not a racist club ... I remind people that our recent review ... was to look to what we need to do for the next 10 years, not the last (10 years)"— SuperFooty (AFL) (@superfooty) February 9, 2021
WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/fJhMdltLL4
McGuire on initially announcing he would step down at the end of 2021: "I don't think that is now fair nor tenable for the club or community.— SuperFooty (AFL) (@superfooty) February 9, 2021
"I have become a lightning bolt for vitriol."
WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/fJhMdltLL4
McGuire's tenure ran for over 22 years, elected in October 1998 and dragging the club back to respectability by luring West Coast premiership coach Mick Malthouse to Victoria.
The club turned into a financial powerhouse and McGuire became one of footy's most powerful figures.
Collingwood not only moved into new headquarters and began turning over multi-million dollar profits, they continually pushed for premierships.
But amid the success there have been continual flashpoints, with McGuire at the centrepiece of Collingwood's coaching succession plan to keep Nathan Buckley at the club.
He moved on premiership coach Mick Malthouse after the 2011 season, with Malthouse adamant he was forced out and McGuire saying he was happy to move on.
He was forced to apologise to Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes after he said he should be used in a promotion for the musical King Kong.
He refused to resign after that 2013 gaffe and the AFL would not punish him.
"It's as simple as this. It was said, and I do not resile from that situation. I've put my foot in it," he said.
"I'm happy to stand here in front of everybody, in front of the country, and say we do not stand for racial vilification. I let myself down because I had a slip of the tongue.
"[But] people don't resign because they make a slip of the tongue. It's as simple as that."
1/ With so many leaders from First Nations & communities of colour calling for McGuire to step down, Daniel Andrews has shown us the boy’s club on full display. The pain & trauma of communities who suffer racism is more important than powerful white men and their friendships.— Héritier Lumumba (@iamlumumba) February 9, 2021
2/ If Andrews wants to show real leadership, stand up for the communities who are hurting because of Collingwood’s public refusal to admit fault. He says Eddie is ‘equal to the task.’ 22 years is a long time for someone to decide if they want to understand what racism is.— Héritier Lumumba (@iamlumumba) February 9, 2021
3/ The fact that Andrews can ignore a former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, former Indigenous players and their families, academics and community leaders, shows he cares more about one white man’s ego than fighting racism.— Héritier Lumumba (@iamlumumba) February 9, 2021
Originally published as Eddie doubles down in bizarre exit announcement