Sam Newman has hit back at Caroline Wilson after she slammed him for criticising AFL players for taking a knee in a show of solidarity for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
Newman took to social media last week to slam players for the gesture, with players and officials taking a knee before every game last weekend.
The former Footy Show favourite claimed players had been ‘intimidated’ into performing the protest.
“How long before we stop being intimidated into nodding in agreement and question the REAL motives. The game may be incidental,” Newman tweeted
“Division, conflict, fury, rage, angst, anarchy, disruption, group guilt, group shaming, acquiescence. Don’t include EVERYONE in the mob mentality, please. AFL is sport!!”
Those comments didn’t sit well with veteran journo Wilson, who slammed Newman for his ‘bitter’ and ‘divisive’ take.
“He said most players didn't understand why they were kneeling and had been intimidated into it,” Wilson said on Footy Classified on Monday.
“For what it's worth, I didn't think it was political, I thought it was social and a united move and it was one that united all the players, black and white, and represented a brotherhood that Newman did not understand and therefore tried to belittle.
“Sam, you've got a terrible history in the area of race relations, and you've done it again, unleashing a series of bitter and divisive rants.”
"Sam you've got a terrible history in the area of race relations, and you've done it again."
Caro has arrowed Sam Newman for his opinion on the players' Black Lives Matter statement.#9FootyClassified | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/VDFuNvkttJ
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) June 15, 2020
Sam Newman fires back at Caroline Wilson
But Newman returned serve after seeing Wilson’s comments, labelling her a ‘piece of work’.
“What a piece of work Caroline Wilson is,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
“My take on kneeling before games is explained, in context, on podcast ‘You Cannot Be Serious’.
“Check HER record on disabled sport and fellow women commentators. You’ll be staggered.”
What a piece of work Caroline Wilson is. My take on kneeling before games is explained, in context, on podcast ‘You Cannot Be Serious’. Check HER record on disabled sport and fellow women commentators. You’ll be staggered.
— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) June 16, 2020
The players issued a statement about why they decided to kneel last weekend.
“The players want us to understand why they have chosen to do this, tonight’s gesture is one of support, unity and respect driven by the playing group,” the statement read.
“We stand in solidarity with our indigenous brothers and sisters for all people of colour. There is no place for racism.
“The knee is an expression of that support, we see strength in diversity, it makes us better as a football club and as a community.
“We will be there for each other always, especially at a time when many are impacted by what is going on around the world. We will continue to learn and walk this journey together.”
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said “racism needs to be stamped out”.
“It is an important issue for our players, for our clubs and for the AFL,” he told Sunrise.
A number of AFL clubs, including Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Melbourne and Brisbane, have also posted photos and messages on social media in support of the worldwide movement.