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NFL draftee Michael Sam's kiss 'annoyingly gratuitous': Sam Newman

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Michael Sam gay kiss 'annoyingly gratuitous'

Footy Show host Sam Newman has been slammed by his co-hosts after he criticised gay NFL player Michael Sam for kissing his boyfriend on US television.

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Controversial AFL Footy Show host Sam Newman has again been slammed for making homophobic comments after he accused American footballer Michael Sam of an "annoyingly gratuitous act" by kissing his boyfriend on TV.

While it was a gay activist who fought Newman's anti-gay comments a decade ago, this time it was co-hosts Garry Lyon and James Brayshaw who told the 68-year-old that he was "homophobic" and "off the pace".

Several in the audience of Wednesday night's show also booed Newman, who insisted that "no heterosexuals do that when they're drafted".

The 'gratuitous' kiss that annoyed Sam Newman.

The 'gratuitous' kiss that annoyed Sam Newman.

Lyon disagreed. "You always see shots of players drafted in basketball or footy, whether they're with their girlfriends, wives, partners — of course they embrace and kiss," he said.

Newman responded: "Now we're resigned to do what we're actually doing, which is talking about it."

Last weekend, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into America's National Football League, kissing his boyfriend on live television upon the announcement.

The footballer has since received widespread praise for showing affection to his partner publicly, including from US President Barack Obama.

In 2004, Sam Newman faced charges over anti-gay comments he made on Channel Nine's Today show.

In response to a council proposal to make Melbourne the premier Australian gay city, he said that the city didn't need "mincing, lisping, parading people wandering all over the country".

Newman later said he was joking, but Sydney gay activist Gary Burns felt differently and lodged a complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

Newman's most recent comments provoked immediate criticism on Twitter from viewers, although many were not surprised by the host's attitude.

Comedian Felicity Ward recalled the 2004 incident.

Openly gay footballer Jason Ball, who has successfully campaigned the AFL to better recognise issues surrounding homophobia in sport, said he was surprised and disappointed by Newman’s comments.

‘‘I have met Sam Newman, he has heard me speak and even shook my hand afterwards and congratulated me for the stand I have taken,’’ Ball, who plays for the Yarra Glen Football Club, said.

‘‘It’s frustrating to hear people like Sam say they are accepting of gay people, just as long as they don’t do anything ‘gay’ in public. Is Sam Newman going to call for a ban on AFL players bringing their girlfriends or wives to the Brownlow Medal Night? Of course not. It’s a double standard.

‘‘Homophobia, whether it’s casual or overt, causes seriously psychological harm. Young people who are gay are far more likely to suffer depression or attempt suicide as a result of homophobia, so at the end of the day, this is essentially about saving lives.

‘‘What I am encouraged about is that ... Garry Lyon and James Brayshaw shut Sam down very quickly and the audience even booed him. To me this shows that attitudes within the football community really have shifted, and that just like racism, homophobia is now also seen as unacceptable.’’

196 comments

  • I challenge Lyon (or anyone else) to find a cake kiss spectacle with a hetrosexual couple?

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 15, 2014, 9:17AM
    • I agree John. It would be fine to embrace, hug....but that 'kiss' was over the top. I was pleased that Newman got drafted, albeit too far into the draft rounds considering his record. But he pretty much lost me with that kiss. I don't really want my 8 year old to see that on the TV news. Like it or not, a heterosexual lifestyle is still the preference and the overwhelming majority choice and natural inclination. May it stay that way, despite our overpopulated world.

      Commenter
      Tony L
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:48AM
    • And what if he can't? That somehow supports the view that gay men kissing is repulsive? Welcome to 1914.

      Commenter
      Jace
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:49AM
    • @ Tony L
      You don't want your 8 year old to see two people that love each other kissing on the news but having him watch all the news of rape, murder and war is OK?

      If you want to live with a 1940's mind set please move to Russia.

      Commenter
      Proud.
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:09AM
    • Tony L's comment is bizarre. Heterosexual inclination is the natural inclination for most people, it's true, and conversely homosexual inclination is the natural inclination of a minority. Both are natural, so what's your problem with either being expressed?

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      M
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:17AM
    • @Tony L: I'll alleviate your concerns for you - all your 8 yr old will learn / catch from seeing "this" on TV is tolerance and understanding. Homosexuality is not a learned behaviour, folks are born that way. C'mon people, think.

      Commenter
      Eeno
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:20AM
    • Jace - you're missing the point completely. This isnt about Gay Vs Straight, I dont like that kind of thing. This is about public standards. I am young, straight - me and my girl would never do that in public as a respect to other people, not everyone would be keen to look at us go for it with a cake in the middle... you want equality lets have actual equality and respect and not just when you it suits you.

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:27AM
    • @Tony L
      I have two 4 year old twins. I am a gay parent. My kids kinder class kids are perfectly ok with seeing me and their other Dad together (admittedly we don't do PDAs but I have that same expectation of any parent). The other kids like both of us and my kids are amazing little human beings.

      You know what.
      Discrimination is not learnt. It is taught.

      Commenter
      michael
      Location
      st kilda
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:31AM
    • "This is about public standards."

      in the Austrlaia or Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, public standards are pretty low. Far lower than seeing two men kiss. Get. Over. It.

      Commenter
      Jace
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:40AM
    • Jace - Tony Abbott is your fallback - congratulations on going off track. I would do the same if I didn't have a proper answer.

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:55AM

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