Interesting happenings over at Pie land....who would have guessed?
Collingwood is likely to part ways with premiership player Heritier Lumumba after he criticised the club for not acting on a homophobic slur and after a series of intense discussions in recent weeks have now broken down.
Lumuba recently challenged Collingwood over a graffiti'd advertising poster in the players' rooms of Scott Pendlebury and Dayne Beams which the player said was homophoboic and should not have been tolerated by the club.
Someone had written "off to the Mardi Gras boys?" on the picture of the two players. Lumumba said the club should have come down strongly to find out who had written the graffiti on the poster and to take action as it was offensive to the gay members of staff.
Coach Nathan Buckley, who it is understood was unaware of the poster, was taken aback by the claim of an unsafe workplace during a meeting with Lumumba late in the season.
Lumumba said in that meeting he might resign to which it was suggested that that might not be a bad idea. He withdrew that comment but plainly made his uneasiness about the situation known to teammates after that meeting.
There has since been a series of meetings between Lumumba and club officials - including a lengthy meeting on Monday with club president Eddie McGuire, who has been a strong supporter of Lumumba and his family - and subsequently both parties are now reconsidering whether there is a future for the former All-Australian at Collingwood.
It was rumoured earlier in the week that a senior player had walked out on the football club and at the time that was denied, although it was admitted there had been issues with Lumumba but that those issues had been worked out.
Later this week there have been further discussions between the player and the match committee and it is becoming increasingly likely that Collingwood will now seek to trade the defender and wingman.
If Collingwood trades the 27-year-old it will be the second time in successive years the club has sought to jettison a contracted premiership player after becoming frustrated at dealing with them off the field. Last year the club eventualy traded Heath Shaw to GWS for Taylor Adams.
Like Shaw last year if Lumumba wishes to stay then as a contracted player he is entitled to insist on his contract being honoured and remaining at the club.
Lumumba's manager Ben Niall, who coincidentally was also Shaw's manager, said the player and club were both considering their options.
"Heritier and the club have had some issues and yes a bit of history there and now it is coming to the point where he is contracted for next year but both parties will decide whether it is best for Heretier to be there next year," Niall said.
"Both parties are going to spend some time thinking about what they do from here. Do they both decide they can work through this or is it time to go their own way and maybe he has to move to a new club?
"Heritier can decide to stay if he wants and he is a contracted player and the club has said go away and think about whether you want to stay and commit to Nathan Buckley and the Leading Teams system or do you decide at the end it's time to open a new chapter at a new club?
"Heritier loves Collingwood and respects Nathan Buckley and he acknowledges that the way he expresses himself at times can be problematic and he needs to modify how he expresses himself going forward whether that is at Collingwood or at another club."
Lumumba took time away from the club last year for personal reasons and had lengthy discussions with Buckley when he returned about re-commiting to the club.
"I think when you go through those times, I mean I had to work out - H and I both had to work out - if we thought that we had a relationship that could continue. And that was H's relationship, by extension, H's relationship with the Collingwood footy club, you know that's - I think that's, that's actually made us stronger," Buckley said earlier this year of that period in last season.
"It probably highlights to you that a little bit of duress, whilst in the short term looks like a bad thing, that when you come out the other side you're actually stronger for it."