Eddie defends Sam’s blackface stunt
Eddie McGuire has been blasted for defending his former Footy Show colleague Sam Newman's infamous 'blackface' stunt.
Speaking in Adam Goodes' documentary The Australian Dream - which screened on the ABC last night - McGuire attempted to justify Newman's 1999 appearance on the Footy Show, in which he wore blackface.
"He [Newman] didn't understand the nuance. He was a product of those times," Pies president McGuire said, of the tone deaf skit.
"He was a 60s 70s vaudevillian who was sending up (Saints legend) Nicky Winmar because he didn't turn up on the show that night."
More than a decade ago, Newman dressed in blackface after Winmar cancelled his planned appearance on the Footy Show.
Viewers absolutely savaged McGuire on social media last night, accusing him of "making excuses" for his former colleague Newman's offensive behaviour.
"They all knew it was racist and did nothing in the moment to address it," one viewer wrote.
Another added: "Sam Newman is disgusting, but Eddie McGuire is equally vile. Making excuses for his behaviour creates space for it to exist".
"Gutless to the end".
And they didn't stop there. "I can't actually get past Sam Newman and Eddie McGuire giggling like pathetic juveniles. Makes me sick," another ABC viewer said.
Winmar had been a target for racial abuse during his AFL career, including being taunted by Collingwood fans in 1993.
The Australian Dream was released in cinemas last year, but premiered on free-to-air TV last night.
It documents Goodes' AFL career with the Sydney Swans, and on and off-field challenges he faced, including being the subject of brutal racial abuse.
"Casual racism is there, it's alive … in our community," Goodes said, in The Australian Dream.
Goodes was branded an "ape" by a young Collingwood fan during the AFL's Indigenous Round in 2013.
He then demanded the fan be evicted from the group, prompting a national debate.
In the following days, McGuire sparked further controversy when he suggested Goodes should be involved in the promotion of a "King Kong" stage show, during a segment on Triple M breakfast radio.
"I wasn't even thinking, I was thinking the exact opposite of what slipped out," McGuire said, in an apology that aired soon after the incident.
"I've spoken to Adam Goodes today who again showed the class he had to accept my call, to listen to my reasoning.
"When I realised what had been said, about 20 seconds later, I went and did an air check … I immediately retracted and apologised … I wasn't trying to be a smart alec, certainly not to racially vilify anyone."