AFL great takes legal action over Sam Newman comments

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Nicky Winmar is launching legal action against Sam Newman and his podcast co-hosts Don Scott and Mike Sheehan. Pictures: AFL/Getty Images

AFL great Nicky Winmar and veteran football photographer Wayne Ludbey are set to launch legal action against former Footy Show host Sam Newman’s podcast.

The pair have decided to pursue legal action against the show and hosts Newman, football writer Mike Sheehan and Hawthorn icon Don Scott, after the trio suggested Wimnar’s iconic gesture of Indigenous pride at Victoria Park in 1993 was simply him saying his team had ‘guts’, and also suggesting that much of the reporting around that day was overblown or false.

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ESPN reporter Daniel Brettig broke the story, revealing Winmar and Ludbey have engaged the services of prominent law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, to defend their version of events from that day.

An irate Ludbey said it was outrageous to suggest there was any other version of the story to be told.

“Never at any stage in the last 27 years have I veered off my original story,” he said.

“I didn't hear any specific racism directed at him, but he was responding to it and lifted his jumper, pointed at his skin and said 'I'm black and I'm proud to be black'.

“This is a strategic thing on the behalf of them to make money by kicking Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people, because they believe they can't fight back. There's no grey area in this - they knew what they were doing.”

Ludbey was adamant in his recounting of what happened, going into great detail about how Winmar was celebrating St Kilda’s win over Collingwood that day with Indigenous teammate Gilbert McAdam, repeatedly telling him, 'I'm black and I'm proud to be black.’

Sam Newman’s comments heavily criticised

Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson has hit out at the comments, questioning why now of all times, that Newman would feel the need to offer such an explosive take on the story.

Wilson also hit out at the suggestion from Newman and Scott that Winmar has for years been lying about the meaning of the image.

“The impression you get from listening to that podcast is that Nicky Winmar has been dishonest since about what he was saying, Wilson said on 3AW radio.

Nicky Winmar looks on during the Nicky Winmar statue unveiling at Optus Stadium in Perth in July, 2019. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Wilson said she finds it baffling that Newman and Scott would question the key protagonists in this particular story, at a time when racial equality is being demanded by citizens around the world.

“Sam would call it political correctness that I’m even saying this, but I’m just staggered that everybody remembers what Wayne Ludbey reported, said, heard. What Nicky said afterwards.

“Why? Why would you do this at a time when people are feeling so vulnerable across Australia and many Indigenous people too.

“I just don’t understand it.”