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New racism documentary from former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba

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Heritier Lumumba
Image - SBS

Heritier Lumumba, formerly known as Harry O’Brien, was in the middle of his best season of AFL when his club president, Eddie McGuire, made a racist on-air comment, suggesting that Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes could be used to promote a King Kong musical.

As a man of colour and strong supporter of equality, Lumumba chose to speak out against his high-profile boss. What followed was a media storm and an on-air showdown with McGuire which painted Lumumba as an overly PC, hyper-sensitive villain.

Commissioned by SBS with support from Screen Australia, Fair Game recounts Heritier’s search for his identity as a black man, and how at the top of his game, he challenged racism and prejudice at the Collingwood Football Club and in the AFL.

Born to a Brazilian mother and Congolese father, Heritier was the poster boy for diversity in the AFL. He served as the AFL’s first Multicultural Ambassador was appointed a People of Australia Ambassador, spoke at a UN conference on Global Health and was even invited to personally meet with the Dalai Lama. But brewing beneath the surface was a deeply conflicted man, longing to be accepted for who he was.

Joining Collingwood in 2004, Lumumba soon established himself as a footballing force to be reckoned with. He achieved the AFL’s coveted All-Australian status and kicked a goal to clinch his club’s first Grand Final win in 20 years. But after the tragic suicide of his step-father Ralph, the resignation of his mentor and legendary coach, Mick Malthouse, and a falling out with new coach Nathan Buckley, Lumumba began to question who he was, and who he wanted to be.

Through exclusive access to Lumumba, his friends and family, AFL legends Mick Malthouse, former Collingwood Capitan Nick Maxwell and sports journalists, Fair Game uncovers the personal and professional journey of a man who at the top of his game, dared to hold a mirror to a nation that didn’t like what it saw.

Fair Game is produced for SBS by Jotz Productions and Common Room productions, with support from Screen Australia. It premieres Sunday 27 August on SBS On Demand and will broadcast at 9.45pm on Sunday, 3 September on SBS.