Football Sam Newman, Don Scott, Mike Sheahan settle dispute with Nicky Winmar over racism protest

Sam Newman, Don Scott, Mike Sheahan settle dispute with Nicky Winmar over racism protest

Sam Newman has courted controversy on his You Cannot Be Serious podcast. Photo: AAP
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Sam Newman, Don Scott and Mike Sheahan have issued a formal apology to St Kilda great Nicky Winmar over comments on their podcast about Winmar’s famous stand against racism.

The settlement followed hours of mediation involving all parties.

An undisclosed amount of money will be donated to an Indigenous charity and is believed to be a six-figure sum, according to ESPN.

In 1993, Winmar lifted his St Kilda jersey and pointed to his skin as a gesture of defiance after being subjected to racist abuse by the crowd in a match against Collingwood at Princes Park.

The image, captured by Sunday Age photographer Wayne Ludbey, has been credited as one of the most important images in AFL history.

However, on an episode of the controversial podcast, You Cannot Be Serious, Newman, Scott and Sheahan questioned whether Winmar was taking a stand over racism or simply pointing to his “guts”.

That suggestion was angrily opposed by Winmar and Ludbey, who began legal proceedings against the trio.

The parties met for mediation in Melbourne yesterday, after which Winmar was offered a public apology.

“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,” a statement from Newman, Scott and Sheahan read.

“We acknowledge what Nicky did was an act of Indigenous pride and defiance.

Nicky Winmar’s famous protest against racial vilification at the hands of Collingwood supporters during a match at Victoria Park in 1993. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

“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 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.”

Winmar said the apology was “good for our people”.

“I just wanna say I am black and I’m proud and I want to thank the rest of Australia for supporting this,” Winmar said.

It is not the first time Newman has got into hot water in recent weeks based on comments he has made on his podcast.

Nicky Winmar received an apology from Sam Newman, Don Scott and Mike Sheahan. Photo: AAP

Last month Newman resigned from Channel Nine after attracting criticism for making comments about George Floyd, the man who was killed when a police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, sparking protests about the treatment of black people by police around the world.

The 74-year-old was immediately subject to a petition calling for him to be sacked, although Channel Nine said the network had “mutually and amicably” decided to part ways.

Sheahan had earlier this week quit the podcast after being called out for agreeing with Newman’s comments on Winmar.

Sheahan told the podcast in his final episode that Adam Goodes called him to express his disappointment.

“When Goodesy rang me, and he’s almost the elder statesman of the Indigenous players, he wasn’t angry and he wasn’t nasty, but he certainly was decisive and said a couple of things to me that really cut deeply,” Sheahan said.

“The one thing it reminded me of, was unless you walk in their shoes, in the shoes of the Indigenous boys, you don’t understand, we don’t comprehend what it means to them and the impact it has on them.”

-with agencies