AFL 2022: Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan addresses historical claims of racism

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan has a “clear conscience” about his alleged involvement in the Hawthorn racism saga and hasn’t felt the need to address Brisbane players on the scandal that rocked the AFL.

The full Lions squad returned to training on Monday under Fagan’s guidance at the club’s new Springfield base, with the cloud of the AFL’s impending investigation into allegations of racism at the Hawks during the Brisbane coach’s time at the club.

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The involvement of then Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson and Fagan, at that stage a part of the Hawks’ football department, is a key factor in the investigation, with the pair intent on clearing their names of alleged poor treatment of First Nations players and their families.

Fagan fronted the media for the first time since the revelations and said that last Friday he signed a confidentiality agreement preventing him from discussing the investigation.

However, the veteran coach was confident he would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I deny the allegations backwards – I released a statement (in September) and I stand by that,” Fagan said.

“I’ve signed a confidentiality deed poll, and I’m not going to play this out in public.

“I’m just patiently waiting for my opportunity to speak at the investigation. You’d like it to happen sooner rather than later, but I’ve just got to be patient and get on with work.”

Fagan admitted when the racism allegations against him first emerged, he was unsure “whether it was OK to walk down the street”.

“But after a while I realised you can’t live like that, so I’ve just been living normally since that point in time,” he said.

“I’ve got a very clear conscience. They say that a clear conscience is a great sedative and I’m sleeping well.”

Fagan was equally as confident about the support and trust being shown in him by the Lions’ playing group.

“The group’s always been supportive of me regardless of the situation I found myself in,” he said.

“They’re that sort of group. They look after each other and they look after the people who look after him, so the last few months has been no exception to that.

“I haven’t spoken to the group about it. I haven’t felt the need to do that.

“The players, I‘ve worked with them for six years, and they trust me, so there’s been no need for a conversation.”

However, Fagan said he had spoken to some players individually when they had asked for a “chat” with him.

“They’re private,” he said of his talks with certain players.

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