Andy Gowers says Hawthorn is ‘mending fences’ in racism saga

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It comes as the Hawks attempt to repair their relationship with former players and coaches.

Gowers was involved in two days of mediation last week that also included Hawthorn’s four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson and First Nations families including Norm Smith medallist Cyril Rioli.

This masthead revealed last week that mediation had led to strong progress towards an outcome.

Part of that could include the Hawks paying both Clarkson’s legal bills paid and potentially some compensation for the Indigenous players.

The First Nations families at the heart of the claims have asked Hawthorn to formally apologise to past players confronted by racism.

The Hawthorn figures involved have strongly denied the allegations.

Gowers made it clear on Monday the Hawks were optimistic about a settlement that would finally end the saga.

That means Federal Court action – where the case would heard in open court – would not be required.

“The phrase ‘mending fences’ is the best description I could give everyone, because it’s exactly what we are trying to do with former players and their families and former coaches and their families,” Gowers said.

“We are trying to reach a resolution and we had the Australian Human Rights Commission process last week and it was a really positive step towards resolution.

“So we are trying to resolve it.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission process is a confidential one and I am bound by confidentiality but the small window I am allowed to let people in on is last week was a good step towards a resolution.

“We want an appropriate and fair outcome for everyone involved in a timely manner.”

Gowers told 3AW the club could not truly move on with its list build, and move to the new Dingley facility, until it resolved the racism furore.

“The football department has been remarkable in their focus and the club in general,” he said.

“There is a cloud. That is a good description. There is a cloud over our club and we are trying to resolve it.

“The membership is growing strongly. The narrative around our team is upbeat and positive.

Originally published as Hawks ‘mending fences’ in hunt for racism saga resolution: President Andy Gowers