Mike Sheahan has gone into detail about the phone call from Indigenous AFL icon Adam Goodes that prompted him to quit Sam Newman’s ‘You Cannot Be Serious’ podcast.
Sheahan, Newman and fellow podcast host, Hawthorn champion Don Scott, courted controversy and eventually legal action thanks to an episode where they suggested St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar was not taking a stand against racism when he lifted his jumper at Victoria Park in 1993.
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While few AFL pundits were surprised by Newman disparaging a well-known and iconic moment in league history, many were disappointed to hear Sheahan, an otherwise respected writer over many years, agreeing with the comments.
In a final podcast in which he explained why he was leaving, Sheahan said it was a phone call from Goodes which laid bare the deeply hurtful nature of what he said.
“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.
“I thought ‘well, again this issue of you don’t know what things mean to people unless you’re on the receiving end of it’.
“I said to Goodesy ‘well Adam, I’m sorry about that, but I’d like to think I could turn any corner in any city in Australia and confront an Indigenous player and we would welcome each other warmly’.
“And he said to me ‘if you turn the corner tomorrow and you ran into me, I’d cross the road’, and I thought ‘geez’, that really cut me, to think that.”
Mike Sheahan apologises after Adam Goodes call
The veteran columnist and TV host said he had been left shocked by the amount of people who had publicly condemned his comments.
Telling Newman he was ‘not as practiced as you are at dealing with public fallout’, Sheahan added that he realised he was wrong to speculate about the issue.
“(Goodes) said to me ‘we’ll stay mates, but the brothers were really disappointed in you and I am too and you have to wear the outcome of what you said’,” Sheahan reflected.
“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.”