Ex-Hawks president turned AFL Commissioner denies claim he refused to help player’s pregnant partner

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Ex-Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold has refuted an explosive claim he turned his back on a Hawks player’s pregnant partner not long after former coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan allegedly made the couple break up.

Now an AFL Commissioner, Newbold is adamant he didn’t engage with the woman in question via email in 2013.

But he conceded a club representative at the time allegedly may have done so on his behalf.

‘I did not author that email,’ Newbold told the Herald Sun, who on Wednesday published a series of alleged exchanges between the woman and the club from almost a decade ago.

‘I want to refute that absolutely. It’s not my language I would use.’

According to the Hawthorn-commissioned review of the club’s handling of First Nations players and their families between 2010 and 2016, the woman allegedly wrote a series of emails to Newbold.

Ex-Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold (pictured right) has refuted an explosive claim he turned his back on a Hawks player's pregnant partner not long after coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan allegedly made the couple break up

Ex-Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold (pictured right) has refuted an explosive claim he turned his back on a Hawks player’s pregnant partner not long after coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan allegedly made the couple break up

Clarkson and Fagan have both categorically denied all the historical racism allegations they are facing and said they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL's independent investigation into the matter

Clarkson and Fagan have both categorically denied all the historical racism allegations they are facing and said they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL’s independent investigation into the matter

She allegedly outlined that at seven weeks pregnant, Hawks trio Clarkson, Fagan and ex-player development manager Jason Burt allegedly removed the player from the couple’s home.

They then allegedly changed his phone number so she couldn’t contact him.

Seeking answers, the distraught woman then got in contact with Victoria Police, who allegedly responded they were ‘unable to contact Hawks staff.’

In another alleged email exchange, the woman started she was experiencing ‘severe anxiety attacks’, was ‘vomiting blood’ and ‘can’t see the light anymore’, as her stress levels increased while carrying her child in the first trimester.

Newbold is alleged to have responded that the situation was ‘beyond my scope of expertise and influence’ and it ‘wasn’t appropriate he became involved’.

The woman felt she was being ignored and allegedly stated she was being treated with ‘disrespect and ruthlessness’ by the club.

On Tuesday night, Newbold again protested his innocence, bizarrely declaring he had no access to his Hawthorn email account in 2013 – before adding he was not responsible for the emails as he didn’t write them.

Clarkson is a four-time premiership winning coach at Hawthorn - but his legacy will be tarnished if found guilty of alleged ongoing instances of racism during his time in charge

Clarkson is a four-time premiership winning coach at Hawthorn – but his legacy will be tarnished if found guilty of alleged ongoing instances of racism during his time in charge

It comes after a un-named Hawthorn coach claimed Clarkson and Fagan used to run the team’s football department ‘like the Russian mafia.’

 

The allegation was part of evidence given to the club’s review into its relationships with Indigenous players.

It’s claimed another player told the review his time with Hawthorn left him so traumatised he had ‘multiple suicide attempts’ and ‘multiple stays in the mental health unit at the hospital.’

Other Indigenous players have accused senior Hawks coaches of involvement in separating them from friends and family in a pattern of what they allege to be racist behaviour.

Clarkson and Fagan have both categorically denied all the allegations and said they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL’s independent investigation into the matter, with the former insisting he was blindsided by the accusations and was not afforded due process.

The unnamed Hawks coach told the review that Clarkson, Fagan, general manager Mark Evans and Burt ‘operated the football department like the Russian mafia’ and ostracised anyone who questioned their methods, according to the report outlined in the Herald Sun.

Clarkson (left) and Fagan (pictured together while with Hawthorn in 2016) are among senior Hawks officials accused of running the club's football department 'like the Russian mafia'

Clarkson (left) and Fagan (pictured together while with Hawthorn in 2016) are among senior Hawks officials accused of running the club’s football department ‘like the Russian mafia’

It's claimed Hawthorn's review into the treatment of Indigenous players during Clarkson and Fagan's time with the team found the club's actions 'amount to human rights abuses'

It’s claimed Hawthorn’s review into the treatment of Indigenous players during Clarkson and Fagan’s time with the team found the club’s actions ‘amount to human rights abuses’

Former Hawks player development manager Jason Burt (pictured) has also strenuously denied the allegations against him and slammed the club for not letting him see a copy of the report

Former Hawks player development manager Jason Burt (pictured) has also strenuously denied the allegations against him and slammed the club for not letting him see a copy of the report

It’s claimed the club’s probe found that Clarkson, Fagan and Burt bullied and intimidated Indigenous players, who were treated so badly the incidents ‘amount to human rights abuses.’

The report states that the review was told two partners of players lost their unborn children during the events that led to the accusations.

One player who alleges the club prevented him from seeing newborn daughter until she was four months old told the probe he is still reeling from the trauma of his time at the club, which has left him ‘extremely unwell’ and on a disability support pension.

‘I have had multiple suicide attempts, multiple stays in the mental health unit at the hospital…[it’s] because of the way the club treated me and my family,’ it is claimed he told the review.

It is also claimed another Indigenous footballer told the probe Clarkson shocked and insulted him during a visit to his home by telling him to invite his teammates over because ‘for all they know you’re living in a shack in the desert’.

On Tuesday, Burt released a statement strenuously denying the allegations against him.

‘I wish to categorically deny the conduct attributed to me in the media. It is difficult to comment more fully in circumstances where I have never seen the report despite my lawyer asking the Hawthorn Football Club and the AFL for a copy,’ he said.

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