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Damien Hardwick reveals First Nations players scandal has taken its toll on Alastair Clarkson

‘He’s not in a great place’: Damien Hardwick reveals First Nations players scandal has taken its toll on Alastair Clarkson and claims it’s ‘incredibly disheartening’ that the former Hawks boss hasn’t been allowed to defend himself

  • Alastair Clarkson is accused of treating First Nations players poorly at Hawthorn 
  • The shocking allegations were contained in a report compiled by the club 
  • Clarkson and ex-assistant coach Chris Fagan have denied all the allegations 
  • Fagan has since taken leave of absence from his role as Brisbane coach
  • Damien Hardwick said Clarkson was ‘not in a great place’ after allegations 

Richmond boss Damien Hardwick described the accusations of racism aimed at Alastair Clarkson were ‘incredibly disheartening’ as he revealed the former Hawthorn boss was not ‘in a great place’.

The AFL was rocked by a bombshell scandal two weeks ago, after a report by the Hawks into the treatment of First Nations players at the club during Clarkson’s tenure. 

Among various accusations, the four-time premiership winner is alleged to have told a First Nations player to end the life of his unborn child, a claim which he has strenuously denied. 

Alastair Clarkson has been accused of bullying First Nations players at Hawthorn

It is also alleged that Clarkson took Sam Mitchell’s phone away from him during an interstate trip in 2011, at a time when the Hawks gun was dealing with family issues and his twin babies were being frequently taken to hospital. 

The report also claims that Clarkson publicly announced the Brownlow medallist would miss a game because of the twins’ health conditions, without previously consulting Mitchell over the matter.  

The AFL have opened their own investigation as a result with Clarkson refuted the allegations ‘in the strongest and most emphatic terms possible’.

As a result, Clarkson will have to wait before taking charge of North Melbourne, with his November 1 start date at the Kangaroos pushed back indefinitely. 

Richmond boss Damien Hardwick said Clarkson was 'not in a great place' after details of the report were leaked out to the media and the AFL launched an investigation

Richmond boss Damien Hardwick said Clarkson was ‘not in a great place’ after details of the report were leaked out to the media and the AFL launched an investigation 

Clarkson and Chris Fagan (right) are alleged to have run Hawthorn's football department through 'bullying and intimidation' by a bombshell report

Clarkson and Chris Fagan (right) are alleged to have run Hawthorn’s football department through ‘bullying and intimidation’ by a bombshell report 

Both Clarkson and Fagan have categorically denied all the accusations and stated they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL's independent investigation into the matter

Both Clarkson and Fagan have categorically denied all the accusations and stated they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL’s independent investigation into the matter

And Hardwick, who worked as assistant under Clarkson at Hawthorn, believes the scandal has taken its toll on his former mentor.  

‘I know this guy. I’ve known him for a hell of a long time and he’s not in a great place, let’s be perfectly honest,’ the Tigers coach said at a WAFL Grand Final function in Perth on Saturday. 

‘To have that accusation and alleged incidents thrown at you and then splashed across the media when you don’t have an opportunity to defend yourself is incredibly disheartening and probably a little bit distasteful.

‘What we do have to do is work our way through it, come to the other side and hopefully, for the benefit of everyone, we grow and we learn together.’

Clarkson won four premierships in eight years during an extraordinary spell with Hawthorn

Clarkson won four premierships in eight years during an extraordinary spell with Hawthorn 

The report also alleges that assistant coach Chris Fagan, player development manager Jason Burt and ex-footy boss Mark Evans ran the football department through ‘bullying and intimidation’.

Fagan, the current Brisbane Lions coach, has denied all the allegations but has since taken leave of absence from the club.

Meanwhile, former Hawks great Luke Hodge has launched an impassioned defence of the two, claiming Clarkson ‘shaped me into the person I am today’ and describing Fagan as an ‘extraordinary mentor and confidant’.

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