'Wanted to make a point': David Koch defends 'White Australia' slur

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
David Koch has defended his critical comments about Mick Malthouse. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

David Koch admits he “probably went too far” with his criticism of Mick Malthouse but maintains the point he was trying to make about the coaching legend.

In response to Malthouse’s call for the AFL to sever ties with China over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Koch said Malthouse would “bring back the White Australia policy” if he could.

That jibe sparked outrage, with Eddie McGuire, Tony Shaw and Malthouse himself expressing their condemnation.

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Speaking on the matter on Monday, Port Adelaide chairman Koch admitted the ‘White Australia’ slur went too far.

“I probably took a step too far on the White Australia, but I wanted to make a point,” he told FIVEaa radio in Adelaide.

“And yes, he’s got under my skin because he just hasn’t sat down with us and said ‘what are you doing?’

“So rather than being informed and trying to understand he just takes pot shots from the sideline and that’s what annoyed me.”

Koch stuck by his stance that Malthouse needed to open his mind on the AFL’s annual game in China, which Port Adelaide always play in.

“Every minute he can get a chance he comes and knocks it down,” he said.

“Never spoken to me personally about it, never sat down and wanted to know what our strategy was and understand it, just take pot shots from the sidelines.”

Malthouse’e comments rile Kochie

Malthouse wrote on Saturday that continuing to play matches at Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium, which the league has done annually since 2017, was “the last thing” the AFL should do.

Koch then told Fox Footy that Port Adelaide would stand firm on its China deal and branded Malthouse a “dinosaur”.

Later on Saturday, Malthouse took offence to Koch’s remarks and clarified he did not have an issue with Chinese people, instead saying his gripe specifically relates to the Chinese government.

“I'm very disappointed in a bloke like David Koch for those remarks (which) are very, very offline for a start,” Malthouse told ABC Grandstand WA.

“Quite frankly, (he is) a man who's made a decision for his football club to take the money.

“I've been called a 'dinosaur' before, that's water off a duck's back. I've also made football comments before and some are right and some are wrong.”

Eddie McGuire and Mick Malthouse both took exception to David Koch's comments. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Outrage over David Koch’s comments

On Monday morning McGuire said Koch’s comments went “200 steps too far”, while Shaw called Koch’s comments a “gutless slur”.

“One of the things I deplore is as soon as anyone’s got a different point of view is to be called racist, misogynistic, boys’ club, anything like that,” McGuire said on Triple M on Monday.

“All the sort of stuff that goes on now, if you’ve got a different point of view or even if you've got a slightly different point of view the pile on just comes straight up.

“I can tell you straight up that Mick Malthouse, there’s not a racist bone in Mick Malthouse’s body and he’s a broad-thinking man.

“He has done so much to look after indigenous Australians and indigenous footballers and players from all walks of life.

“He’s very generous man when it comes to people who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds from all sorts of areas who come into the club whether they could read or write or they were geniuses, all those types of things.

“I think to be slated back to White Australia was a step not too far, but about 200 steps too far from David and I hope that Kochie sort of looks back on that sand says you know what, I might’ve just acted a little bit irrationally on that one and I retract.

“I hope that he does that in the next couple of days because that was way over the odds.”

with AAP