Collingwood’s AFLW co-captain, Steph Chiocci, has apologised for “any and all offence” caused by historical “redface” photos retrieved from her Facebook profile.
In photos first obtained by the ABC, Chiocci darkened her face and dressed in Native American clothing for a costume party in 2010.
“Redface”, the practice of non-Native Americans dressing in the clothing and make-up of the United States’ first inhabitants, has long been regarded as offensive to Native Americans.
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Chiocci apologised unreservedly for any harm caused by the photos.
“In 2010, I was a young suburban footballer. I attended a fancy-dress party in that year,” Chiocci explained to ABC Sport.
“Today, I am aware of the concept of cultural appropriation and the hurt that can be caused by such appropriation. I was not then.
“I would not think to wear the same costume today.
“I apologise for any and all offence.”
In a club statement, the Magpies applauded Chiocci for apologising.
“Collingwood supports the apology offered today by Steph Chiocci,” a club spokesperson said.
“We cannot Do Better unless we learn from the past and commit to constructive change.
“At Collingwood we support our people to do this because doing so will make us all better. We must all look back, learn and act with greater understanding.”
A high school teacher by day, Chiocci has played for the Magpies since the AFLW’s inception in 2017.
She will add to her 37 appearances, the second-most of any female Magpie, in the 2022 season, which is currently set to begin in the first week of January.
Covid-19 border restrictions have thrown doubt over the fixture, which has still yet to be confirmed publicly.
Ahead of the 2021 AFL season, Collingwood released its “CFC Do Better Report”, the culmination of an independent review into the club’s culture.
The investigation was in part motivated by allegations of racism levelled at the club by Brazilian-born former player Héritier Lumumba, but the eventuating report sought to review the culture of the club at large.
The investigation found Collingwood had a “distinct and egregious” history of racism.
The report acknowledged the club had taken “important and positive steps” to ameliorate its culture, but said these steps forward had “not gone far enough in addressing racism in the club – and certainly not in its systemic form – and do not equate with a strong set of values and effective policies and procedures.”
The report was particularly scathing of Collingwood’s board, from which long-term president Eddie McGuire resigned in the aftermath of its release.