Former footy great Sam Newman has launched an extraordinary attack on the AFL after forcing footy fans to endure multiple ‘welcome to country’ speeches and a eulogy for a ‘heroin addicted indigenous felon’ at last week’s grand final.
In a long-winded rant, Newman took aim at the league for what he described as ‘virtuous, patronising nonsense’, even taking time to insult transgender former coach Dani Laidley.
‘We had the indigenous show of just nonsense. And then, the only thing they didn’t have is maybe they could have put Dani Laidley in an open car and driven her around at half time in the back of a Jeep or something. I mean, seriously,’ Newman moaned.
Sam Newman had a major gripe with the AFL over its ‘woke’ antics before last Saturday’s grand final
The life of indigenous icon Uncle Jack Charles was honoured during the AFL grand final
Former AFL great Dani Laidley attended the 2022 Brownlow Medal at Crown this month
The outspoken Newman took the an opportunity to mock the AFL and indigenous icon Uncle Jack Charles during his podcast, You Cannot Be Serious, which he hosts alongside former AFL star Don Scott.
‘The grand final day was marred by two things … this patronising nonsense about us welcoming the original landowners to this country,’ Newman began his tirade.
‘Absolutely we admire and we respect and we give thanks to the traditional land owners for where the game is to be played and we acknowledge that.
‘But the virtuous, patronising nonsense that the AFL go on with. A patronising campaign to foster this feigned indignation to divert from their own paranoid white privilege – all they do is drivw a wedge between the footballing public, yet we see through it.’
Newman slammed the AFL for forcing football fans to watch not one, but two welcome to country speeches before the ball was even bounced.
‘We had a man with a beard came out and told us … about where the boundaries of all the various tribes and things go. Just an absolute propaganda chat about nothing,’ Newman said.
‘And then, if that wasn’t enough … then the CEO’s brother gave us welcome to country.’
But Newman saved his biggest spray for Uncle Jack Charles, who was a prominent figure on NITV’s Yokayi Footy and had featured as the voice of the 2022 AFL finals advertising campaign.
Newman said Wayne Carey had more right to be honoured at the grand final than Uncle Jack
Before his death earlier this month, ‘Uncle Jack’ performed a monologue on Yokayi footy celebrating the contribution of Indigenous people as ‘our modern day warriors’.
‘And then a man with the jolly title of Uncle Jack. They did a eulogy to an indigenous man called Uncle Jack, who I believe didn’t play football at all,’ Newman told Scott.
‘Why would you have to actually give him a eulogy at the grand final. For what reason? It’s sheer projection to its patronising nonsense.
‘We had three references to indigenous people. Good on em, but I mean how many times did they have to fall over themselves to show that we’re being woke, we’re enlightened – we don’t have to be told that.’
Newman said he was further enraged when he did some research on Uncle Jack.
‘I don’t know why the New York Times got into this … now I’m just reading this out: “Jack Charles is one of Australia’s leading indigenous activists and who’s been the grandfather of Aboriginal theatre, but whose heroin addiction and (preference) for burglary landed him in jail throughout his life, died.”,’ Newman scoffed.
‘So I don’t care what he’s done, I just want to know why he’s occupied any space or any time at the grand final.’
Newman claimed disgraced ex-footballer Wayne Carey had more reason to be honoured at the grand final than Uncle Jack.
‘And if he was a heroin addict and if he was a felon, where would that leave someone like Wayne Carey?
‘Wayne Carey, who has been ostracised from every AFL job, from every broadcasting commitment – a job that he’s had – because he was found with some crushed-up anti-depressants in a nightclub,’ Newman said.
‘So he gets railroaded. He actually played football Wayne Carey … he’s been a great commentator and he’s been completely thrown under the bus and yet Uncle Jack Charles – Good on him. And I see he’s getting a state funeral. Good on him.’
Chief Executive Officer of the AFL, Gillon McLachlan, came under fire for being too woke
While Newman said he held no personal grudge against Uncle Jack, he believed he had no business being honoured at the grand final.
‘If you could tell me why he occupied space at the grand final after we had a welcome to country from the CEO’s brother, we had a bloke with a beard tell us about the history of where the rivers run and who owns them and where our boundaries are. It’s just virtuous crap.’
Newman went onto highlight comments from First Nations people, who themselves have been critical in recent times of the ceremonies on account of them ‘causing division’.
‘How many times do we have to be told … they should be honestly ashamed of themselves because all they’re doing is, they’re not uniting people, they’re driving a wedge between the footballing public,’ Newman said.
‘They then had a non-binary band at half time – good on ya .. if people that that’s good then fair enough. So they covered that base.’
Newman is no stranger to controversy.
Last year he had a crack at a transgender woman who won a hot dog eating competition in the United States.
‘You’d think she’d be good at eating hotdogs in that case wouldn’t you,’ Newman said at the time.
He also caused a stir in 2020 after suggesting an iconic image of 1993 image of former Saints champion Nicky Winmar was not a stance about racism, but a show of ‘guts’.