'Doesn't have a clue': Collingwood great slams Sam Newman 'bigotry'

Heritier Lumumba has taken an angry shot at Sam Newman. Pic: Getty

Collingwood legend Heritier Lumumba has accused Sam Newman of being tone deaf and a bigot, in an extraordinary attack on the veteran TV personality.

Newman on Friday evening confirmed that he'd parted ways with Channel Nine after a 35-year association with the television network.

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The bombshell move came after the 74-year-old was widely condemned for a vicious attack on George Floyd - the African-American man killed by a white police officer in the United States.

Newman pointed out Floyd's criminal history and argued that he shouldn't be held on a pedestal, while also claiming that Black Lives Matter is an American movement that is not applicable to Australians.

Lumumba - who this month accused his former club Collingwood of covering up racism during his 10-year stint with the club - says Newman is completely missing the point.

In a fiery response to the former AFL Footy Show host, Lumumba accused Newman of failing to see black people as human and confessed that it was because of the 74-year-old that he never appeared on the popular Channel Nine show.

“Sam Newman is doing exactly what he has always done. He is consistent with his bigotry, unwavering with his prejudice, and unapologetic with his tone deafness,” Lumumba wrote on Twitter.

“He is one of the reasons why I ALWAYS refused to appear on the footy show.

“Unsurprisingly, Newman’s comments re: George Floyd show that (he) doesn’t have a clue about what the #BlackLivesMatter is about. ANY black victim of extrajudicial execution by police or vigilantes deserves recognition by the BLM movement, as they are human beings, first and foremost.

“George Floyd’s criminal past shouldn’t disqualify him from being seen as a human being first. Police aren’t conducting background checks before shooting, beating or kneeling on the necks of black people. Why? Because they don’t see us as human. Newman doesn’t sees us as human.”

Newman’s comments sparked a wave of criticism as Channel 9 faced pressure to sack him, just days after he returned to the network as part of the Sunday Footy Show.

He was a mainstay on the midweek Footy Show since 1994 before farewelling the program in 2018.

Newman and the Nine Network both confirmed that their 35-year association had come to an end on Friday evening.

“Sam Newman announced today that he would no longer appear on Nine. The decision was made mutually and amicably,” a statement from Channel 9 read.

“We thank Sam for his service with Nine over several decades. His contribution to The Footy Show was paramount to the enormous ratings success the show enjoyed over many years.”

Newman’s controversy views spark backlash

Earlier in the week after Newman had tweeted about his opposition to AFL players taking a knee, urging them to “stop the preening”, veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson blasted him for his “terrible history in the area of race relations”.

Newman infamously wore blackface on an episode of The Footy Show in 1999 and was forced to apologise to the Indigenous community.

Before Friday's announcement that they'd parted ways, an online petition calling for Nine to sack Newman had gathered steam.

Newman’s comments about Floyd sparked an angry backlash on social media, with a number of Channel Nine employees among those outraged.

Sam Newman and Channel Nine have parted ways in the wake of his controversial George Floyd comments. Pic: Getty

Jim Malo of Domain (owned by Nine), tweeted: “Genuinely ashamed this clown is employed by the same company as me.”

Veteran journo Mike Carlton said: “How much longer will Nine put up with this vulgar, ranting, knuckle-dragging f***wit?”

Meanwhile, Rosie Thomas tweeted to Channel Nine saying: “It’s time to #StandDownSam hate is not commentary and it’s definitely not footy”.

Thomas, a co-founder of the ‘Project Rockit’ movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, also linked to an online petition calling on Nine to sack Newman.

“Channel 9 has given one of Australia’s most prominent racists an unrivalled, paid platform to broadcast his hateful, racist views,” the petition says.

“In pursuit of ratings and profit during a shortened footy season, Channel 9 is banking on racism to make back their advertising bucks. And by doing so, Channel 9 has made itself complicit in fuelling hatred and violence.

“Newman’s hate speech normalises bigotry and emboldens those who seek to do harm to Black people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Muslim people, and others.

“We need your help to show Channel 9 this is the wrong decision. It needs to take responsibility for its role in the spread of hatred, violence, and bigotry.”

with agencies