Sam Newman and fellow podcast hosts Mike Sheahan and Don Scott have issued a grovelling apology to AFL legend Nicky Winmar over comments claiming his iconic ‘anti-racism’ photo wasn’t about being black.
The trio had cast doubt on the St Kilda’s star stance against racism in 1993, when he was photographed lifting his jersey and pointing at his dark skin after he was racially abused by Collingwood fans.
Winmar and photographer Wayne Ludbey were outraged by the comments made by the three men – who attended an emotional six-hour mediation session with the sporting great on Friday.
Each of the men signed a formal apology on Friday admitting the podcast had ‘damaged Nicky’s reputation’ and confirming that the picture did in fact capture Winmar standing up against discrimination.
Sam Newman (left), Mike Sheahan (centre) and Don Scott (right) cast doubt on Winmar’s stance against racism in which he was captured lifting his jumper and pointing at his dark skin – declaring it was really about the club having ‘guts’
Winmar (pictured) and photographer Wayne Ludbey, who captured the moment after a Collingwood versus St Kilda game in 1993, were outraged by the comments made by the three men
A letter of apology, seen by Daily Mail Australia, said: ‘During our 23 June 2020 podcast, we talked about Nicky lifting his jumper and pointing to his skin at the end of the 1993 Collingwood and St Kilda match during which he had been racially abused.
‘We acknowledge what Nicky did was an act of Indigenous pride and defiance. It was also a powerful statement of solidarity for Indigenous Australians who are subjected to racism and vilification.
‘Any suggestion otherwise was wrong. We have reflected deeply on the issues.
‘We accept what was said during the podcast has damaged Nicky’s reputation. We understand many people would regard what we said as racially discriminatory of Nicky and Indigenous Australians.
‘For all these reasons, we sincerely apologise to Nicky Winmar and to Indigenous Australians generally.’
The mates said they will remove the podcast episode where the comments were made and promised to make another a formal apology during their next episode.
Winmar said he was happy the issue was resolved but believed there was more work to be done.
‘I just wanna say I’m black and I’m proud and I want to thank the rest of Australia for supporting this,’ Winmar told The Age.
‘I was very disappointed [with the comments]. It’s been a very emotional last few weeks. I believe in what I said.’
Newman, Sheahan and Scott attended a six-hour mediation session with Winmar in Melbourne on Friday and signed an official apology and admitted the comments made during the podcast ‘had damaged Nicky’s reputation’
Winmar said he was happy the issue was resolved and the three men apologised but believed there was more work to be done
The mediation and apology came after Newman chimed in on the subject of Winmar’s iconic moment during his ‘You Cannot Be Serious’ with Scott and Sheahan.
‘I was at that game at Collingwood. I think there was a misrepresentation here,’ Scott began.
Scott, who was a 300-game veteran for the Hawks in the 60s and 70s, appeared to be annoyed that Winmar had appeared in recent news coverage wearing a George Floyd t-shirt.
Floyd’s death under the knee of a white American police officer inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘Maybe Nicky’s dining out on it now about lifting his jumper because I reported on that game at Collingwood,’ Scott said.
‘St Kilda played Collingwood and my recollection was that St Kilda won and Nicky lifted his jumper saying ‘That was a gutsy effort. We have got heart’. Now it’s been misconstrued.’
While Sheahan, who hosts Fox Footy’s Open Mike on Tuesday nights, acknowledged only Winmar himself would know what the gesture meant, he believed at the time it was about guts, not racism.
‘He now says that he was pointing to the colour of his skin and making a political statement,’ Sheahan said.
‘(Scott) has some validity. Because at the time lots of people were thinking that he was actually talking about guts.’
Newman laughed: ‘Have a listen to you dancing around this. You’re treading on egg shells.’
‘Unlike some of the people I work with, I’m going to consider it before I give an answer,’ Sheehan said.
‘I was at Victoria Park that day … and I reckon I left the ground thinking he was talking about guts.’
The mediation and apology came after Newman chimed in on the subject of Winmar’s iconic moment during his ‘You Cannot Be Serious’ with Scott and Sheahan
Scott, who was a 300-game veteran for the Hawks in the 60s and 70s, appeared to be annoyed that Winmar had appeared in recent news coverage wearing a George Floyd t-shirt
While Sheahan, who hosts Fox Footy’s Open Mike on Tuesday nights, acknowledged only Winmar himself would know what the gesture meant, he believed at the time it was about guts, not racism
Newman was delighted.
‘Well done. And then it just morphed into all that other by activists,’ Newman said.
While Sheehan questioned the motive behind Winmar’s stance on the day, he said it would go onto be for the greater good.
‘Where we’ve got to because of what Nicky Winmar did, I think is a major step forward because it brings the issue of racism into play,’ he said.
Winmar, who played 251 games of AFL football, donned the Floyd t-shirt and dropped to his knee to support the Black Lives Matter movement during a segment on the Yokayi Footy show earlier this month.
‘You see the heartaches and hurts of the people around the world at the moment,’ Winmar said.
‘It’s gotta be stopped, and we’ve gotta make our point across to people. Our next generation, what are they going to think of this?
‘To our mob back home in Australia….we see that happening, it’s pretty sad, and it’s got to be stopped as well.’