AFL news 2022, Cyril Rioli, wife, racism allegations, Jeff Kennett, Hawthorn Hawks

AFL

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has broken his silence on allegations made by former player Cyril Rioli and his wife.

In a story published by The Age over the weekend, light was shed on the reasons Rioli suddenly retired from the AFL and walked away from the Hawks at the age of 28.

The Rioli family felt they had been treated differently during their time at Hawthorn based on their race.

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In the new report, Kennett was accused of making comments towards Cyril’s wife Shannyn that they felt were racist, and part of a bigger problem at the AFL club.

Now, Kennett has broken his silence on the matter via a statement on the Hawthorn website.

“We were all saddened by the story that there had been incidents that had upset both he and his wife,” Kennett said of Rioli.

“We have taken those claims seriously and are conducting further inquiries to see if there might have been other incidents affecting our past First Nations players.

“Once those inquires have concluded, we will determine if any other action needs to be taken.

“I can assure you that the board and the administration will not shirk our responsibility to work through these matters.

“Some will demand immediate answers and actions, but, given how important these matters are, the best response is a measured and responsible one.

“We will firstly seek to establish the facts, before working through the best way of responding to the matters that require addressing.

“Matters have been brought to our attention. We are taking them seriously, and any failings will be addressed.

“Can I finally say on this matter: we all want Cyril back with us at Hawthorn. I hope that we can work through the hurt he feels and make him feel welcome and safe in the brown and gold family again.”

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