AFL legend Luke Hodge launches impassioned defense of former coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan as Hawthorn’s racism assessment drags on for MONTHS
- Luke Hodge has publicly supported ex-coaches Alastair Clarkson & Chris Fagan
- Hawthorn great defended both men on Twitter as they face an uncertain future
- Pair faces allegations of bullying from native players in Hawthorn
- Clarkson and Fagan deny the allegations, both are working with Integrity Unit
- Hawks coach Sam Mitchell also allegedly targeted by ‘controlling’ Clarkson
Retired Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge has publicly supported former coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan as they face serious historic allegations of bullying native players at the AFL club.
Hodge, 38, who won four flags with the Hawks – three as captain – took to Twitter on Saturday to show his support for the embattled pair.
Both men have resigned their positions with North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions respectively until the AFL has completed their investigation into the complex case.
They also strongly deny any allegation.
While he was unwilling to comment on social media about the racism allegations arising from an outside review commissioned by Hawthorn, Hodge pointed to his positive dealings with the coaches.
Hodge, along with former player development manager Jason Burt, said the trio “wanted nothing but the best for me and my family.”
Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge has publicly supported former coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan as they face serious historic allegations of bullying of Indigenous players
Both Clarkson and Fagan (pictured) have resigned from their positions with North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions respectively until the AFL has completed their investigation into the complex case – they also strongly deny any wrongdoing
‘Alastair Clarkson shaped me into the person I am today’, Hodge tweeted from his Hawks coach from 2005 to 2017.
“He inherited a bit of a Colac brat and was never afraid to give me the honest truths I needed.
“Sometimes that was hard to hear, but it came only from a place of love and concern for me and my future.
“He’s always shared his own stories and helped me feel good about myself.”
Hodge went on to label Fagan an “extraordinary mentor and confidante” and said the work Burt did to help players get in and out of footy was “tireless”.
In another explosive development on Saturday, current Hawks coach Sam Mitchell was reportedly the victim of ‘unsympathetic treatment’ by Clarkson during his playing days at the club.
Clarkson led the Hawks to four AFL premiers – in 2008 and then from 2013-2015 (pictured, with Hodge in 2014)
Hawks coach Sam Mitchell was reportedly the victim of ‘unsympathetic treatment’ from Clarkson during his playing days at the club – he has yet to respond to the accusation
During the 2011 season, Mitchell’s family had health problems after his wife Lyndall gave birth to twins.
In the same year, his mother-in-law was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
It is alleged that a “controlling” Clarkson forced Mitchell and other teammates to hand over their phones while playing an interstate game the next day.
One of Mitchell’s daughters was in hospital at the time with health problems and he was in constant contact with his wife.
According to The agerelations between Mitchell and Clarkson soon became frosty, with Mitchell considering competing with Collingwood in 2011.
One of the most confrontational allegations of the Hawthorn review was that club figures, including Clarkson, once allegedly pressured a Native player and his partner into ending a pregnancy.
Another wife of a former player claimed that Clarkson once came to eat at their family’s house.
He is said to have commented on how clean the house was, saying ‘you should invite your teammates to dinner…as far as they know you live in a cabin somewhere in the desert’.
Legal experts predict that the detailed investigation into racism will not be resolved before Christmas this year.
If the matter is not resolved in 2023, it remains to be seen whether Clarkson will get the green light from the AFL to take on coaching duties in North Melbourne, while Fagan will also be in limbo in Brisbane.