Lumumba’s issues with the Magpies, Buckley, former club chief executive Gary Pert and ex-club president Eddie McGuire were detailed on Monday morning via the Herald Sunwhich released sections of an extensive dossier Lumumba wanted to present to Collingwood as part of the ‘Do Better’ reconciliation process before talks broke down.
In the dossier, Lumumba alleged an assistant coach used a pornographic image during a team meeting in 2014 when Buckley was senior coach, while he also alleged a sexually inappropriate comment was made by Pert in front of players’ wives and partners during a night out in Sydney in 2011.
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“The club is engaging in a truth-telling process. Now fundamental to truth-telling is the truth,” Buckley told SEN Breakfast on Monday morning.
“I’m not going to be drawn into detail and I’m not going to say that ‘Heritier’s right here, wrong here’ – because that is his perspective of the truth. But there are other versions of the truth that are a long way away from the way that he perceives it.
“Mine is very different from what he presents. But the context becomes important… and the whole idea of the process is to have open dialogue, respectful dialogue so that you can actually move forward in a positive way.
“It seems that Heritier doesn’t really want to move forward unless there’s, I don’t know, whether heads need to roll. I don’t know exactly what he’s looking for… or what his requirements are to feel like he has been heard, because that’s what we’ve really tried to do is sit and listen.
“He has been apologised to – I’ve apologised to him, the club has apologised to him – for the environment that he’s been in – and not just Heritier, but the other Indigenous players that have come through.”
Buckley said he wasn’t “perfect” as a leader and person during his stint as Pies coach, pointing to comments made in a 2017 proud press conference he was “not of at all” because he let “a personal resentment and animosity cloud the bigger picture”. But Buckley said he’d come to “value (culture) more and more because I understood it better – and the consciousness and awareness of it is a big part.”
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Asked if he was concerned his legacy at Collingwood was being diminished by Lumumba’s accusations, Buckley said: “No I’m not worried.
“I consciously thought of this: I put my head on the pillow last night and I slept well because I know that I have owned my imperfections and I’ve owned the things that I’m responsible for. I’m happy to have those conversations with anyone at any time – and I fundamentally believe I had those conversations with Heritier in the moment. I was prepared to stop, to listen, to try and learn, to try and understand in the moment.