Sam Newman has refused to apologise over his rant about George Floyd that saw the end of his 35-year career with Channel Nine.
The former Footy Show host announced on Friday night he had left the network, claiming it was a ‘mutual decision’ following his extraordinary tirade about the African-American man whose death sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the world.
‘George Floyd … is piece of s***,’ he said on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious.
‘He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he’s a drug addict, he’s a crackhead and he’s a pornstar.’
Polarising media personality Sam Newman (pictured) has refused to apologise for his rant about George Floyd that cost him his 35-year career with Channel Nine
‘He’s dead because of the police brutality and it never should have happened. But I am telling you who George Floyd is, now they’ve made a monument about him and he’s a piece of s***.’
Newman’s contentious comments ignited outrage, with calls for the radio host to be sacked.
No stranger to controversy, he has also been vocal against players kneeling in first round of the AFL season, an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The AFL rant recently reignited a feud with Herald Sun journalist Caroline Wilson, after she slammed him publicly for declaring players should ‘stop the preening’.
However, the shocking spray about Floyd was the final straw for the broadcaster, with Channel Nine and Newman reportedly mutually deciding to part ways last week ‘in the station’s best interests’.
But the former Geelong AFL great told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell he was ‘100 per cent right’ on his views concerning both matters.
‘There’s a communal strain of syphilis infecting the grievance brigade and the activists who will not be bothered to listen to what I say, not that I’m whinging, but I’m 100 per cent right on what I said about those two matters that caused controversy,’ he said.
George Floyd (pictured), 46, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest on May 25 for allegedly using a counterfeit bill, sparking worldwide protests
‘One was about the kneeling – the players before the game. I said ‘I don’t believe they know why they were kneeling’ and this was confirmed by an unlikely ally in a bloke called Joel Wilkinson (former Gold Coast player), who said the AFL was ‘hypocritical’ on the racism stance and the kneeling was borne from George Floyd accusing them of police brutality and inspired by Colin Kaepernick – that’s what I said.
‘I make no apology for saying George Floyd is a piece of what I said and I did say it was a disgrace what happened to him — no one mentions that — and the police should be in receipt of the full force of the law for what they did to him. Having said that, why we would eulogise and make a martyr out of him and that’s what I said, I don’t recede from that one iota.’
Newman added his public voice would be more outspoken now that he has cut ties with the network and no longer needs to consider the company’s reputation.
He also said if the AFL or any sporting body was serious about tackling racism, every player would wear a jumper inscribed with ‘say no to racism’ which would be seen on television and during television.
‘Then you don’t need to carry on with all the virtue signalling and nonsense that goes on,’ Newman said.
Days after leaving Channel Nine on ‘amicable terms’, Newman caused another stir by referring to COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’.
Former AFL Footy Show host Sam Newman (pictured) was inundated with more backlash 48 hours after he parted ways with Channel Nine over his comments about George Floyd
The AFL season was thrown into chaos on Saturday after Essendon Bombers player Conor McKenna tested positive to coronavirus.
Newman weighed into the debate about the season after Essendon’s round three clash against Melbourne was postponed, with Bombers players ordered to self-isolate until they can be tested again this week.
‘Let’s face it. The AFL 2020 comp is a farce. How can a table ladder be set, when games and players are postponed. Cancel the official season and just play on to entertain the TV audience,’ the Geelong Cats great posted on Twitter on Sunday, adding the hashtag ‘Chinese virus’.
It was the second time within 24 hours he had referred to coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’.
‘Due to the Chinese corona virus, Essendon and Melbourne won’t be on TV this weekend. I know how they feel. Boo boo. #ChineseVirus,’ he posted on Saturday.
His latest tweet divided the internet and sparked disagreement among his followers.
‘You’ve deadset lost it mate. Take a spell!,’ one man commented.
Another added: ‘Wrong wrong wrong… Get a life.’
Some accused Newman of looking for more attention after his Channel Nine career came to an abrupt halt.
‘You mean cancel the season just like your career, big difference is you now have no TV audience,’ one said.
Newman’s tweet (pictured) about the AFL season on Sunday divided the internet
Conor McKenna trained with the Bombers on Friday before testing positive to coronavirus
But Newman was also inundated with support.
‘I like you Sam for calling it for what it is! ChineseVirus,’ one said.
‘You should take over the AFL Sam and in addition start the Sam Newman Footy Show and let loose. I miss your antics and your full frontals, let em rip again Sam,’ another wrote.
A Carlton fan added: ‘You are so right Sam. Hard to get excited when nobody is there! I’m sick to death of these players taking a knee! How ridiculous!’
Many others fans were just as disillusioned as Newman with the code since the season resumed last week following a 10-week lay-off
George Floyd died after an arrest on May 25 in which a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes, during which Floyd was complaining that he could not breathe.
Records showed Floyd had been arrested nine times for mostly drug and theft offences, and served several short prison sentences.
His most serious offence was aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, in which he and other suspects forced themselves into a woman’s home and Floyd held a pistol to her abdomen. He served four years in prison for the crime.
Newman made comments about Floyd on his podcast ‘You Cannot Be Serious’, alongside fellow footy great Don Scott and journalist, Mike Sheahan
Outspoken TV personality Sam Newman has broken his silence about his rant about George Floyd after he was let go from Channel 9
His autopsy found high levels of fentanyl in his system and evidence of recent use of methamphetamine which the initial examiners said ‘contributed to his death’.
Newman’s ‘porn star’ comment referred to content circulating online that showed a man purported to be George Floyd performing in an adult video.
When the call from Nine came through at 3pm on Friday, Newman knew the writing was on the wall.
He insisted he was talking about Floyd’s criminal record and that people should have focused on condemning police brutality.
He claimed the ‘extravagant language’ used may have gotten his point across in a way he did not intend.
Newman received backlash within the community for the statement, including from former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba
Newman received backlash within the community for the statement, including from former Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba.
He claimed Newman didn’t see black people as ‘human’.
‘Sam Newman is doing exactly what he has always done. He is consistent with his bigotry, unwavering with his prejudice, and unapologetic with his tone deafness,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Lumumba claimed Newman’s position on the Footy Show was one of the reasons he refused to appear on the program.
‘George Floyd’s criminal past shouldn’t disqualify him from being seen as a human being first. Police aren’t conducting background checks before shooting, beating or kneeling on the necks of black people. Why? Because they don’t see us as human. Newman doesn’t sees us as human,’ he said.
To that, Newman responded by writing: ‘Stop pulling your d*** Harry, you were never asked to come on the Footy Show. We didn’t invite losers.’
George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis cop. His death saw the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gone global
Controversial TV personality and former AFL great Sam Newman (pictured on the Footy Show in 1999) announced his split from the Nine Network after 35 years on Friday night
Newman’s contract was due to expire at the end of 2020 and he insisted that his withdrawal was not unexpected, revealing he felt change was ‘in the wind’ five years ago, blaming the current ‘politically correct, woke age’.
‘It was not unexpected if you are going to have an opinion about things that are out in the public arena and some would view controversial and yet most would think are absolutely reasonable,’ he said.
Newman said he will continue to work on the podcast with his co-hosts saying there are still ‘a hell lot’ of people who agree with his views.