'Ham-fisted' McGuire very, very sorry
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire offers a tearful apology over comments likening footballer Adam Goodes to an ape.PT2M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ndek 620 349 May 30, 2013
Eddie McGuire believes he has done enough to avoid sanction under the AFL’s racial and religious vilification process that he faces because of his controversial comments about dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes.
The next move in the racist comments saga appears to rest with the AFL, which is dealing with McGuire under under its rule 30, pertaining to racial and religious vilification, and the Collingwood board.
Eddie McGuire faces the media. Photo: Pat Scala
Collingwood's board has not met - and was not required to - but board members have privately indicated they are 100 per cent behind McGuire.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley will face the media at 1pm at Tullamarine Airport, ahead of his team's journey to Brisbane to play the Lions on Friday night. He is bound to be asked about what impact the saga is having on his team, which is struggling in 11th place on the ladder.
McGuire suggested during his Triple M breakfast radio show on Wednesday morning that Sydney star Goodes, who was called an "ape" by a teenage Magpies fan on Friday night, could be used to promote the musical King Kong, which is currently showing in Melbourne.
Adam Goodes. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
McGuire returned to his show on Thursday and again apologised for the offence that he had caused, but maintained that he does not believe that he will be forced to step down from the Collingwood presidency or other roles.
On Wednesday night, he had said he was willing to stand aside as Collingwood president, and "take a spell" from media commitments if required.
"Will I need to step down from things? If it’s symbolic fair enough ... to be honest I don’t think it will happen," McGuire said Thursday morning.
"I think I’ve just about ticked every element of (the AFL’s racial and religious vilification mediation). That is shown remorse, squared up with Adam Goodes which is the key point and apologised... But I will go through it and do it... even to be seen to be doing it."
"I spoke to a few (Collingwood) board members yesterday. They know what I’m about. Anything that will damage Collingwood that is the opposite of what I’m about and more importantly anything that will damage Collingwood’s battle for equality that I’ve led for the last 15 years.’’
McGuire has been supported by high-profile friends, and criticised by his listeners, the day after his infamous gaffe.
On SEN radio Thursday morning, media figure Sam Newman insisted that his friend's gaffe was about nothing more than "word association, nothing more".
"This wasn’t about ethnicity or race or affluence or standing or social position or academia. This was about a word a girl said the day before and they were talking about another subject called King Kong the musical, it was word association, it was nothing more.
"And I know that mightn’t be palatable and you think I’m defending him... I’m not - he made a mistake and he’s going to rue it for the rest of his life.
"But just have a look at it naturally, it was about two words being linked, not the person, or the act, or who he is.
"If that girl hadn’t mentioned that word ("ape") during the Swans-Collingwood game, do you think when Eddie McGuire was discussing King Kong... that would have been so far off his radar."
Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton said he had groaned upon hearing McGuire's words on Wednesday, his immediate reaction being "oh, that's not good".
But he said "of everyone I know, Eddie is the most non-racist person I know".
Essendon great and SEN commentator Tim Watson said McGuire should go through the league's process, but he didn't support McGuire standing down as Collingwood president.
ABC political commentator and Magpie fan Barrie Cassidy has demanded action from the Collingwood board.
"The board of the Collingwood Football Club has no choice but to intervene and deal immediately with the racism controversy created by its president, Eddie McGuire," Cassidy has written.
He said the angry response from Collingwood star Harry O’Brien "by itself demands the board intervenes".
"The authority and reputation of its president has been challenged from within. That can’t be left to fester. The board has to make a call."
A spokeswoman for the Australian Communications and Media Authority said it had not yet received any complaints about McGuire’s broadcast comments.
Under the complaints structure, complainants would first need to register their dissent with the station. Triple M would have 60 days to respond, and then, if the complainant is not satisfied with the response, the ACMA can examine the complaint.
Previous licence conditions issued against sister station 2DAY FM in Sydney in the wake of two Kyle Sandilands scandals do not apply to Triple M, even though the two are owned by the same company.
The ACMA conditions from the Sandilands saga were imposed on the licencee, being 2DAY FM, rather than parent company Austereo.
In 2010, Channel Nine Melbourne promised to pay $200,000 to charity if it again breached its code after Sam Newman described a Malaysian man as "not long out of the forest".
At the time, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: "Ridiculing or racially abusing dark-skinned people by comparing them to monkeys has recently received much media attention in Australia, particularly in and around the sporting arena.
"We believe a sporting commentator such as Mr Newman would have been aware of these incidents and should therefore have been aware that using the word monkey in this manner would be likely to provoke severe ridicule."
The first 'conciliation' step that that league’s Racial and Religious Vilification policy outlines was achieved when McGuire and Goodes spoke about the matter on Wednesday.
AFL spokesman Patrick Keane would not comment specifically on the Goodes-McGuire case, but told Fairfax Media that the next stage would be for the person accused of breaching Rule 30 to attend an education program approved by the league.
Rule 30 states that the AFL’s football operations manager - currently Mark Evans - is responsible for overseeing cases.
McGuire received largely supportive feedback from callers to Triple M on Thursday morning. One caller, Adam, who said he had an "African" background, said "I think Eddie has done enough to stop apologising to people. People have to get on with it. There’s racism everywhere. You can’t even say anything (without) people getting upset. Come on people cool down."
Another said: "I’m not your greatest fan. At the same time I don’t think you’re a racist," while Collingwood fan Pauline said she would be horrified if McGuire stepped down as Magpies president.
"I can’t believe the storm it’s caused," she said.
"You’re probably the least racist person I know."
But another listener said McGuire should have known better.
"When I see the suffering the girl’s gone through on the weekend, she really didn’t know what she was saying, but you do - you do know better," he said.
McGuire rejected comments that Goodes and others who had been insulted by McGuire’s comments, such as Magpies winger Harry O’Brien, who is of South American and South African heritage, were too sensitive. He said he would use the experience to educate how the impact of such words and actions have on people who have been subjected to racism all their lives.
"(Goodes) used to cop it from the white kids when he was at school because he was the only black kid at the school and he used to cop it from the black kids because he was the only black kid going to school,’’ McGuire said.
"He has had to cop it every day of his life so this is what we have to remember.
"We now have to make sure that we get a positive out of this... that is to say that people have copped this all their lives and they’ve had enough of it and they don’t deserve it and, yeah maybe we have to be over-sensitive because we’ve been severely under-sensitive to it for far too long.
"This is the week of the anniversary of when indigenous Australians actually got the vote in 1967. They were actually classified as Australians not in 1767, but 1967. So that’s always been my philosophy. I let the team down but I tell you what I'll play a belter of a second half."
Radio broadcaster Neil Mitchell said on Thursday morning that McGuire's comments could have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.
- with Adrian Lowe and Samantha Lane