The AFL is compiling a panel to investigate disturbing claims from a number of First Nations players who previously spent time at the Hawks.
Hawthorn itself had commissioned a review of potential racism at the club, before an explosive ABC report detailed allegations from three former players and their families.
READ MORE: Watchdog launches new probe into Hawthorn
The allegations include claims senior staffers from the club forced First Nations players to separate from their families and partners, and in one case suggested a player’s partner should terminate a pregnancy.
In a tense back-and-forth interview with Nine’s Today, Kennett refuted claims his club faces a crisis.
“These allegations took place six to 12 years ago, and they are shocking, I accept that,” Kennett said.
“We had a process in place to try work out… what weight we should put to those allegations.
“But let me tell you, to me a crisis is something I experienced many years ago when (I was Victorian) premier, when I was driving back from the country and was rung up and told the Longford Gas Plant had had an explosion, people had died, people were injured, and the gas supplies to Melbourne had been cut off. That, to me, is a crisis.
“These allegations are shocking, and they’ve got to be managed, and they’ve got to be dealt with, and now they’ve got to be dealt with particularly in the interests of those who have been named.
“The way to deal with this is calmly, maturely, put in place the requirements that are necessary to ensure all parties get justice.
“It is a management issue, with shocking information being given.”
The ABC report named three former Hawks employees at the centre of the allegations – former head coach Alastair Clarkson, his football manager Chris Fagan, and development officer Jason Burt.
All three deny any wrongdoing, but have stood down from their current jobs indefinitely while the investigation takes place.
Kennett is upset the three players spoke to the ABC and named individuals.
“We had a process in place, I have not attacked the players,” he said.
“We have a confidential process in place… it’s also offensive to those they have accused.
“When you have a confidential process, and you ask for confidentiality yourself but you don’t give it yourself to those you are accusing… then that’s unfair, it’s not natural justice.
“I’m not accusing them of anything, I’m simply stating a fact.
“I don’t know why they went public. It was a confidential survey… confidential, they agreed to that, and then they went public.
“This isn’t a crisis, this is just a matter of managing a situation in the interest of all parties.”
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