Melbourne ‘royalty’ Eddie McGuire has reportedly used his many high profile contacts, including the Victorian premier, to help escape his latest gaffe.
Despite a number of highly publicised scandals in his career, the influential AFL and entertainment identity has always managed to salvage his reputation when people have called for his head.
Earlier this week, McGuire, 56, left many in disbelief after the veteran Collingwood president labelled the club’s ongoing racism inquiry a ’historic and proud day’ for the embattled club.
McGuire’s time looked finished in the hot seat, only to be saved by arguably the two most powerful people in Victoria – Premier Daniel Andrews and AFL boss Gill McLachlan, The Australian reported.
Eddie McGuire (pictured) has enjoyed a wonderful career in the media despite many gaffes and is known as Melbourne royalty – often calling on his well-established contacts for help
AFL CEO Gill McLachlan (pictured) came to the rescue of McGuire this week in his time of need after yet another gaffe
‘It’s very much a boys club and they all scratch each other’s backs,’ one footy powerbroker told the newspaper.
‘He (McGuire) works very closely with those who are in office, and that in many ways is a very shrewd thing to do.’
McGuire stood accused of condoning toxic racism at one of Australia’s biggest sporting teams, with fans and critics alike confused by the controversial comment.
The Age reported some board members at the club this week have wondered if McGuire should walk away, but the decision was left with the man himself.
Respected footy journalist Mark Robinson believes McGuire’s position is untenable.
‘McGuire had the opportunity to make the honourable decision and relinquish the presidency, but didn’t,’ Robinson wrote in the Herald Sun.
Former Collingwood star Heritier Lumumba (pictured) labelled Eddie McGuire ‘shameful’ this week
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire (pictured second from left) baffled many this week with his backward comments
‘He also should have offered a sincere apology, and accepted individual responsibility for his role (in the matter) before standing down immediately.’
Due to step down from his post this year after 23 years as the boss of the Magpies, McGuire got to work quickly as his latest gaffe threatened to end his presidency tenure on a sour note.
Former Magpie Heritier Lumumba, who instigated the racism inquiry, blasted McGuire in the media for his ignorant comments, labelling him ‘shameful.’
‘Instead of addressing the findings in the report, they issued a whole [lot] of meaningless statements, refusing to show accountability for the past and dismissed addressing historical complaints as ‘semantics’,’ he said.
‘For Eddie to begin by saying ‘it’s a historic and proud day’ was offensive to me and no doubt others like me who have endured racism at the club.
‘This could have been a historic moment for the club to deal with systemic racism, but it just looks like business as usual.’
With the drums beating for him to step down immediately from the likes of 3AW’s Neil Mitchell and sports reporter Mr Robinson, McGuire reached for his phone and made two very important calls.
The first was to none other than Victorian premier Mr Andrews, the newspaper claimed, who had previously backed his old mate during his dire time of need.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured above) leapt to the defence of Eddie McGuire this week amid calls for him to stand down as Collingwood president
Collingwood head coach Nathan Buckley (pictured above) has had his disagreements with Eddie McGuire over the years
‘I don’t think running away from challenges is leadership, whether it’s in a footy club or any other role,’ Andrews told reporters who asked him if he felt McGuire should resign from his post this week.
‘I think you’ve asked me should (McGuire) go, and I’m saying no. That doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s running from a challenge instead of dealing with it.’
Next call for the workaholic McGuire, who began his career as a footy statistician and cricket reporter for the now defunct Herald newspaper in 1978, was AFL boss Gill McLachlan, the Australian claimed.
McLachlan chose his words very carefully. The AFL head honcho was critical when quizzed by journalists in a pof McGuire’s bizarre choice of words when discussing the inquiry, but didn’t go as far as condemning him.
‘I spoke to Ed (on Tuesday morning) and his intention was to say that he was wanting to look forward and embrace the recommendations from the inquiry,’ McLachlan said.
‘I would have articulated things differently – and I think Ed understands that position and probably agrees with that.’
At Collingwood’s annual general meeting this week, McGuire apologised for his backward language and admitted he was in the wrong.
Ever the self promoter, McGuire then stated he was recommitting for another year with the Magpies.
For a man who counts billionaire James Packer and cricket legend Shane Warne among his good friends, McGuire has lived a charmed life.
But his longevity at the top end of town has been no fluke – the long standing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host and former radio identity with Triple M rubs shoulders with the elite on a daily basis in his beloved Melbourne.
Eddie McGuire’s career mishaps
*May 29, 2013 – McGuire compares indigenous Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes to King Kong. He later admitted he was guilty of racial vilification
*June 2015 – accused of sexism after ‘joking’ about drowning respected female journalist Caroline Wilson during a charity event at the MCG
*December 2017 – accused of making an anti-Semetic joke while hosting Millionaire Hotseat – McGuire stated to a contestant with Scottish and Jewish parents that ‘it would have been hard getting pocket money from them’
*29 March 2019 – mocked double amputee Cynthia Banham for a pre-game coin toss prior to a match between the Sydney Swans and Adelaide
*February 2021 – following allegations of systemic racism at the Collingwood Football Club after an independent report, McGuire declared it was a ‘historic and proud day’ for the Magpies