Lumumba in 2015
|Nickname(s)||Harry, H, Tier|
|Date of birth||15 November 1986|
|Place of birth||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Original team(s)||Claremont Football Club (WAFL)|
|Draft||No. 20, 2005 rookie draft|
Round 18, 2005, Collingwood|
vs. Fremantle, at MCG
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||88 kg (194 lb)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Héritier Lumumba (formerly known as Harry O'Brien; born 15 November 1986) is a Brazilian-born Australian former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).
The 188 cm (6 ft 2 in) Lumumba played most of his football as a medium defender. He was selected with pick 21 in the 2004 AFL Rookie Draft by Collingwood, and made his debut in Round 18 of 2005 against Fremantle at the MCG. He kicked a goal against the Kangaroos shortly after his debut, and did enough to be retained on the rookie list. In 2006 he showed more improvement and was elevated to the senior list again during the year, this time due to the absence of Sean Rusling, playing a total of nine games.
He played in numbers 43, 30 and his final number 8. In 2010, he won All-Australian honours playing off the half-back flank. He was instrumental in Collingwood's 2010 grand final replay win over St Kilda and kicked a long goal from the boundary line late in the game.
On 15 October 2014, after issues with the club and management, Lumumba and Collingwood agreed to part ways and he joined the Melbourne Football Club in a three-club deal with Mitch Clark going to Geelong and Travis Varcoe joining Collingwood.
Lumumba missed the round one match against Greater Western Sydney in 2016, before playing the next five matches; he missed the remainder of the season after suffering from concussion symptoms. Despite being cleared to train by Melbourne doctors, he did not return to pre-season training in November after being advised to retire by several specialists. He retired from AFL football in December.
In 2017, the documentary Fair Game was released about Heritier's life and his experience of racism while playing professional football. He called the culture at Collingwood a "boys' club for racist and sexist jokes" and stated that his teammates nicknamed him "chimp", a term with a strong history of connotations as a racial slur against black people. He stood up to the racism and continues to do so.
On Network 10's The Project, Lumumba was interviewed by Waleed Aly about his experiences and was disappointed in Aly's response to the interview, as Lumumba felt that he approached the interview with the "preconceived idea that we would both see eye to eye on the basic truths of racism/white supremacy ... However, it is now very clear to me, that he and I have fundamental differences in our understanding of what racism/white supremacy is, and how it should be effectively dealt with." Lumumba felt that he was undermined by Aly and claimed that Aly was indifferent to racism.
In 2020, the feud was again reported in the media when Lumumba called The Project "unethical and dishonest" in their treatment of him. He said that Collingwood coach, Nathan Buckley, told him to back off his accusations because it would throw the club president, Eddie McGuire, "under the bus".
Collingwood wanted to sit down with Lumumba to reconcile, but Lumumba refused until he received a full acknowledgement and apology over his treatment.
Lumumba's accounts of racism were rejected by former coach Mick Malthouse, Buckley and McGuire, but they were affirmed by a number of players including Chris Dawes, Brent Macaffer, Leon Davis, Andrew Krakouer, Chris Egan and Shae McNamara. Former Melbourne coach Paul Roos also confirmed hearing Lumumba's account and was "shocked" when Lumumba told him of the culture at Collingwood and what he had endured.
In 2021, the Do Better report was leaked to the Australian media. The report found the Collingwood Football Club guilty of systemic racism. This has led to calls for The Project, and hosts Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar, to apologise on-air. Helliar has written an apology, "This report is heartbreaking. To @iamlumumba I am truly, unequivocally sorry. I should have believed you. I will do better." A few days later, the interview was no longer accessible on the program's Facebook account. A former executive producer at Network 10 stated, "What 'The Project' should do right now is show a bit of that clip, have Waleed and Pete sit there and talk about it and the lessons they've learned and what they'll do going forward."
Lumumba was born to a Brazilian mother and a Congolese-Angolan father in Rio de Janeiro, and moved to Perth, Australia when he was 3 years old. He was raised by his Australian stepfather and was 19 years old when he was reunited with his father, after spending 13 years apart. He supported the Essendon Bombers as a child, with his family owning a pet dog named Sheedy after the long-time Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy.
He went to school at Rossmoyne Primary from 1994 to 1999 and then Rossmoyne Senior High School.
Lumumba's surname was changed to "O'Brien" when he was 9 years old and was given the nickname "Harry" shortly after, becoming known as "Harry O'Brien". In December 2013, he changed his surname back to "Lumumba" and discontinued the use of the nickname "Harry", citing his journey of decolonisation as the reason for the change.
Lumumba became the AFL's first multicultural ambassador and worked to engage migrant communities through football. He was the AFL's multicultural ambassador from 2006 to 2013. In 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard recognised Lumumba as one of the People of Australia ambassadors. He was also made the ambassador to the Dalai Lama's visit to Australia in June 2011.
|Season||Team||No.||Games||Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and achievements
Lumumba published a book in 2014 called It's Cool to be Conscious, that includes personal stories from his life, both on and off the field.
- Niall, Jake (6 December 2013). "Harry O'Brien no longer: Magpie to change surname to Lumumba". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Walsh, Courtney (31 May 2008). "Magpies Harry O'Brien defender a leader in the making". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- Boulton, Martin (11 May 2006). "Give rookies a better go: Pies". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- Lane, Samantha; Gleeson, Michael (4 October 2008). "Swan named Magpies' best". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- Ryan, Peter (15 October 2014). "Clark a Cat, three-way deal sees Varcoe join Magpies". AFL.com.au. BigPond. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Burgan, Matt (4 April 2015). "Lumumba cherishes win in 200th". MelbourneFC.com.au. BigPond. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- Raplh, Jon (6 November 2016). "Heritier Lumumba ready to return for Melbourne in 2017 after concussion ruined 2016". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- Ryan, Peter (21 November 2016). "Lumumba still not training as concussion lingers". AFL.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- Warner, Michael (21 December 2016). "Heritier Lumumba retires from AFL following medical advice over concussion issues". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "Lumumba slams Pies as 'racist, sexist boys' club'". The West Australian. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
- "Heritier Lumumba Collingwood, documentary, Eddie McGuire, Nathan Buckley". Fox Sports. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
- "The man who stood up to Eddie McGuire". SBS Guide. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
- "Hèritier Lumumba On White Fragility, White Supremacy, And Waleed Aly". New Matilda. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Waleed Aly 'indifferent' to racism: Heritier Lumumba". The New Daily. 23 September 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "'The Project' Is Under Fire Over An "Unethical & Dishonest" 2017 Segment On Racism In The AFL". Pedestrian TV. 10 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Héritier Lumumba rejects Collingwood's offer to meet over club racism allegations". the Guardian. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Collingwood Crisis Deepens: Two More Players Confirm 'Chimp' Nickname For Héritier Lumumba". New Matilda. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "AFL 2020: Lumumba, Heritier Lumumba racism claims Collingwood, Nathan Buckley, Paul Roos, Melbourne, Harry O'Brien, AFL racism". Fox Sports. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Collingwood Football Club is guilty of systemic racism, review finds". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- "Calls row For The Project Hosts To Apologise To Heritier Lumumba On-Air For 'Disgraceful' Coverage". Huffington Post Australia. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- "Media personality apologises after interview with Heritier Lumumba resurfaces". Seven Network. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- "Former Channel 10 Exec Urges The Project To Explain Missing Héritier Lumumba Clips". Huffington Post Australia. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- Gleeson, Michael (12 February 2008). "African journey helps O'Brien". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
- Warner, Michael (11 March 2009). "Pies confirm tragic loss". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- Rielly, Stephen (6 December 2013). "Harry reclaims his birth name: Heritier Lumumba". Collingwoodfc.com.au. BigPond. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Holmes, Tracy. "Heritier Lumumba: How he shed the game and the name that once defined him". ABC News. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- Muling, Elizabeth. "Harry talks multiculturalism in AFL". Collingwood FC. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Phelan, Jennifer. "O'hAilpin, Carlile sign up as multicultural ambassadors". AFL.com. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Ferguson, John. "Gillard names Collingwood star local champion". The Australian. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- "Humble Harry recognised for multiculturalism work". ABC News. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
- Blake, Martin. "Dalai Lama kicks goal on Harry O". The Age. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- Lumumba, Héritier (29 May 2014). It's Cool to be Conscious. Hay House. ISBN 978-1-40193-851-2.
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