Sam Newman is facing calls for his removal from the AFL Hall of Fame after he demanded footy fans boo the Welcome to Country ceremony.
An online petition demanding Newman be stripped of the honour has gathered. more than 6,300 signatures – marking the latest blowback against the ex-AFL player and media star.
Newman made the call to boo or slow hand-clap any Welcome to Country earlier this week with his calls falling on deaf ears.
Some 36,000 AFL fans ignored the plea in an inspiring show of solidarity before Brisbane beat Carlton at the Gabba, in Brisbane, on Saturday night.
Instead fans quietly listened to the Acknowledgement of Country, politely clapped Yuggera, Nunukul, Turrbul and Yugambeh man Shannon Ruska and cheered after he delivered a brief but powerful Welcome ceremony.
Instead of booing, footy fans at the Gabba clapped Aboriginal man Shannon Ruska and cheered afterward he delivered a brief but powerful Welcome to Country
Sam Newman is facing calls for his removal from the AFL Hall of Fame after his demand that footy fans boo the Welcome to Country ceremony was ignored in Brisbane
He finished by encouraging the crown to chant ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi.’
The same thing happened the previous night during the first preliminary final between Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney with not a single boo heard in the 90,000-plus crowd.
Newman, a former Collingwood ruckman turned media personality, had aired his opinion on the traditional ceremony on his podcast ‘You Cannot Be Serious’ on Wednesday.
‘So the next time you go to to a public event, like the Grand Final, or a football game, or any public event in an auditorium and they trot out the welcome to country, start booing, or slow hand-clapping,’ Newman told the podcast.
Newman doubled down while speaking on The Opposition Podcast, claiming the ceremony divided people on race.
‘Are we sick and tired of this? I’ve been going on about this for a while now. I find it insulting and demeaning to be welcomed to a country where I live in,’ Newman said on the podcast.
READ MORE: Jacinta Price calls for an end to Welcome to Country
The outspoken indigenous politician called for the tradition before sports games and other events to be scrapped, arguing it sends a message to non-Indigenous Australians that ‘this isn’t your country’.
Newman was roundly criticised for his comments, with indigenous Senator Lidia Thorpe telling him to ‘educate himself’ and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan saying ‘I disagree very definitively’.
The change.org petition claimed that Newman’s latest statements are evidence that he now fails the ‘good character’ test which is part of the honour bestowed on him in 2002.
‘For many years and on many occasions, Newman has demonstrated his poor (at best) character,’ the petition states
‘It is time the AFL showed support (as they purport to do) for those he has continually disrespected with his disgusting comments, and for the AFL to take action and remove him from the Hall of Fame – an honour he is not worthy of.’
Newman, now 77, played 300 games and kicked 110 goals for Geelong between 1964 and 1980 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
He had a long media career in retirement, including a 24 year run on The Footy Show and briefly co-hosted his own show with Paul Vautin, Sam and the Fatman.
Newman has a long history of provocative on-air stunts including wearing blackface after Nicky Winmar failed to appear on The Footy Show in 1999, and groping a lingerie-clad mannequin with a photo of journalist Caroline Wilson’s face on it in 2008.
Newman, now 77, played 300 games and kicked 110 goals for Geelong between 1964 and 1980 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. He has had a rollercoaster life since retiring
Amanda Brown’s death ‘changed me markedly,’ Sam Newman said in 2022. ‘I became more circumspect and a lot more emotional’. Pictured with late wife Amanda Brown
He resigned from the Nine network in 2020 after claiming that African American man George Floyd, whose murder by police officer Derek Chauvin sparked worldwide protests, was ‘a piece of s***.’
Newman’s personal life has been a rollercoaster. He is a prostate cancer survivor and has been married four times, losing his last spouse, Amanda Brown in tragic circumstances in 2021.
He came home to find her dead from a stroke in the home they shared and unsuccessfully tried to revive her using CPR for 30 minutes.
He claimed on his podcast, You Cannot be Serious, that her death had made him more ‘circumspect’.