Former Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge says he has never heard of any of the “terrible stuff” alleged by former Indigenous Hawks players after bombshell claims were aired about the club on Wednesday.
The ABC reported that three Indigenous families involved at Hawthorn during former coach Alastair Clarkson’s reign from 2005 to 2021 allege they were bullied while at the club, with one player claiming he was told to “get rid of my unborn child and my partner”.
Hodge, who played 305 games for the Hawks and captained them to three premierships, said the article was “a tough read”.
“Your first thought goes to the players who went through it and the partners and the families that went through it because it doesn’t matter what your job is, it’s always family first and that’s the first people you look after,” Hodge told SEN on Wednesday.
“So to go through and read that and what’s been alleged, it’s very uncomfortable.
“You can’t put yourself in the position of the players and their families and what they’ve been told by people who they’re supposed to look up to, it’s an uncomfortable position for them to have had to go through and you feel for them.”
Hodge said he had never heard of anything alleged in the report during his 16-year tenure at Hawthorn.
“When you have 18, 19, 20-year-old kids getting drafted, you always hear about break-ups and whether it’s the right thing, personally I’ve had a lot of private conversations with those guys, especially early on (for me),” he said.
“So those conversations are had every day in big groups and small groups, but I’ve never heard anything to the extent of what was written in the article.”
Hodge said he was still unsure of his thoughts on the matter, but labelled the accusations as “shocking”.
“But you sit back and does it dampen . . . what we went through as a group, we had a lot of successful years, but at this stage that’s irrelevant because of what young blokes were told or what they were put through,” Hodge said.
“When you get drafted by a football club, it’s supposed to be an exciting time of your life. It’s supposed to be, ‘My life has changed, now I have a pathway for the next 10 to 15 years hopefully’, that’s not what happened with these young kids.”