“Wrong, homophobic and off the pace.”
Australian football legend Sam Newman thought he’d have his two cents’ worth on the issue of openly gay NFL player Sam Michael’s reaction to being drafted on Saturday.
That is, Michael kissed his partner and, not surprisingly, it was caught on cameras waiting for his reaction to being drafted.
Here’s what Newman, a 300-game AFL Hall of Fame veteran for Geelong and star of Nine Network’s The Footy Show since it began in 1994, had to say about that:
It’s an annoyingly gratuitous act, kissing your boyfriend.
At the risk of being branded, no heterosexuals do that when they’re drafted.
Not surprisingly, Twitter lit up almost immediately and Newman became a trending topic. Globally, according to some reports.
Sam Newman trending around the world!!! Ouch
— The Red Sash (@The_Red_Sash) May 14, 2014
Sam Newman is homophobic. No wonder no player has come out with jerks like him still given airtime. #aflfootyshow
— Andrea (@andream75) May 14, 2014
"Wrong, homophobic and off the pace." Good to see Garry Lyon and James Brayshaw stand up on national TV to Sam Newman's idiocy. #change
— Jill Stark (@jillastark) May 14, 2014
To his cohosts Gary Lyon and James Brayshaw’s credit, they quickly rounded on Newman asking him to explain his comment.
Gary Lyon: Sam, you always see shots of players drafted whether it be basketball or footy, with their girlfriends, wives or partners-
Sam Newman: Nah
Lyon: Of course they embrace or kiss.
Newman: Designed to do what we’re actually doing, talking about it.
Lyon: I’m not being contrary just to get a rise out of you-
Newman: You won’t get a rise out of me.
Lyon: But you’re wrong on this.
Sam: An opinion can’t be wrong.
Lyon: You said heterosexual people don’t do this.
Newman: Not blatantly when the cameras are on.
It was explained to Newman that draft prospects usually have cameras in rooms in their houses and filming can go for hours, and celebrating with your partner was a natural reaction.
Lyon: You are being-
James Brayshaw: Yes. You’re off the pace. That is a natural thing for people to do.
It’s easy to dismiss the incident as yet another Sam Newman Being A Boofhead story, but the fact remains that the runaway ratings success show he all but holds up, The Footy Show, has been tolerating his outmoded views since it began in 1994.
In 2004, he faced charges over anti-gay comments he made on Channel Nine’s Today show when discussing a proposal to make Melbourne the premier Australian gay city. He claimed he was joking when he said Melbourne didn’t need “mincing, lisping, parading people wandering all over”.
He’s made several appalling references to race, once likening a Malaysian man to a monkey “not long out of the forest” and at his lowest point, did a black-faced impersonation of indigenous football champion Nicky Winmar.
And once again, the calls are out for the Nine Network to get rid of him ance and for all.
After 20 years, it’s far, far too late to erase any damage he’s done by making light of serious issues in front of millions of AFL fans every week.
Sacking Newman won’t make a jot of difference to the man – he’s reportedly earned $1m a year for a lot of his time on The Footy Show – but it will show everyone’s he’s offended over the years that the Nine Network is in tune with and cares about what the rest of the world believes in 2014.
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