After more than a week of self-justifications and recriminations triggered by the leaking of the Do Better report into racism at Collingwood, Eddie McGuire stood before the media for the last time as president on Tuesday, and said goodbye.
He did it the only way he could: boasting of his achievements, of which there are many, admitting to his faults, his most recent dealing the final blow to his presidency, and putting on public display his deep emotional attachment to Australian rules football and his beloved club. A man who rarely took a backward step finally had to concede that to allow his club to move forward, it was time for him to bow out. It was painful for him, but was the right call.
With McGuire joining the ranks of past presidents, it does offer the club for the first time in more than two decades the opportunity to reset and recalibrate. And the club’s response to the damning claims detailed in the Do Better report must sit atop the next president’s to-do list. With McGuire out of the public eye, it should give Collingwood the chance to do the hard work needed out of the spotlight that its president often attracted.
It’s not enough that McGuire has left the building – the problems were not confined to one man. Changing the culture and putting in place the necessary systems and structures, as the report called for, are essential if the club is to move on from its fraught history on racial issues.