Eddie McGuire formally apologises for Goodes radio gaffe

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The AFL will investigate comments made by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire after he linked Indigenous star Adam Goodes to King Kong.

McGuire apologised to Goodes today personally and again in front of a media conference later today.

AFl chief Andrew Demetriou said McGuire would have to go through the league's Racial and Religious Vilification Policy, which would include speaking with Goodes and going through education programs.

Demetriou said he was disappointed in the comments made by the Collingwood president.

“Mr McGuire’s comments about Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes were extremely disappointing and totally unacceptable,” Mr Demetriou said.

“Given the impact they have had on Mr Goodes as well as the Sydney Swans and the wider football community, the AFL has deemed that Mr McGuire, as a club president, must go through the Racial and Religious Vilification Policy process required by the AFL Player Rules."

“Mr McGuire’s ill-judged comments have clearly compounded the hurt caused to Mr Goodes by the incident last Friday night. As a result, Mr McGuire will be treated under the Rules as we would anyone else within the AFL competition.

“The AFL has worked hard over many years to eliminate all forms of racism from the game, and we will continue to do so through our policies, educational programs and by the example we set.

“I have spoken with Eddie McGuire today and he has reiterated to me his strong and ongoing commitment to a range of Indigenous programs undertaken by the AFL and the Collingwood Football Club, and also to the AFL’s Racial and Religious Vilification Policy.”

Sydney chairman Richard Colless says Goodes is bitterly disappointed but has accepted McGuire's apology for a racist remark about the Swans star.

Colless told reporters in Sydney that Goodes was deeply hurt by broadcaster and Collingwood president McGuire's comment on radio suggesting that he could promote the King Kong stage show.

The comment came just five days after McGuire apologised to Goodes after a 13-year-old Collingwood fan called him an ape during the MCG clash between the clubs.

While Colless said Goodes had graciously accepted the latest apology from McGuire, the chairman did not appear so forgiving.

"I think he'll have to live with this for a long time," said Colless, who described McGuire's comment as an "extension of the vilification" Goodes experienced on Friday.

"As a club it's impossible to underestimate how disappointed we are given who the individual is, and given his highly commendable actions on Friday.

"The word we came up with earlier is bewildered. We just don't get it."

Colless said senior figures at the club had been talking to Goodes through the day and that the dual Brownlow medallist was in a more emotional state as a consequence of McGuire's comment than on Friday.

Colless said he had spoken with McGuire but did not appear to fully accept his explanation.

"I thought the transcript was pretty explicit," said Colless.

"I said `I don't think you have anywhere to go on this. How can we defend a comment as crass as the one you've made'."

He said McGuire went to great lengths to explain the context and his physical tiredness and "so on and so on".

"I think a slip of the tongue is one word mispronounced. This was a few sentences," Colless said.

Earlier, McGuire said he had called Goodes and apologised for his comments as soon as he was able to.

"I've spoken to Adam Goodes today, who's again shown the class to accept my call," he said.

"There's no ducking, I made a mistake today, full stop. I unconditionally apologise to Adam Goodes and all Indigenous footballers.

"In our position in this community its important that everyone is treated as equals. I was thinking the exact opposite of what slipped out.

"I'm very disappointed that we're all here today, it has cut me to the core.

"I put my foot in it, so I stand here today and I am ready to cop any criticism.

"I wasn't racially vilifying anyone this morning, it was a slip of the tongue, it's as simple as that.

"I hurt people that I actually care for.

"It was a mistake, I made a blue and i will be eternally disappointed."

McGuire did not believe his comments were racially offensive.

"Adam was really upset, but I don't think he felt vilified," McGuire said.

"I'd rather be judged on what I did Saturday night than what i said this morning."

Days after issuing an apology on behalf of a racist taunt by a Collingwood fan, McGuire prompted outrage Wednesday morning after drawing comparisons between Adam Goodes and King Kong.

With Luke Darcy on Triple M radio, McGuire was discussing an eye-catching promotion of the new King Kong musical showing in Melbourne in which an ape's hand was hung from the Eureka Skydeck 300m above the ground.

McGuire then suggested the promoters use Goodes, linking the two-time Brownlow medallist with the iconic, fictional gorilla.

"One of the great promos ever was the hand of the gorilla coming out the top of the the Eureka [Skydeck]," Darcy said.

"Get Adam Goodes down for it do you reckon?" McGuire added.

"No wouldn’t have thought so, absolutely no," Darcy responded, trying to divert the conversation.

"You can see them doing that can’t you...Goodsey?" McGuire continued.

"You know with the ape thing, the whole thing, I’m just saying the pumping him up and mucking around all that sort of stuff."

McGuire posing beside the King Kong puppet in Melbourne. Photo: Triple M
McGuire posing beside the King Kong puppet in Melbourne. Photo: Triple M

Soon after making the laboured joke, McGuire was quick to defend his comments, but fell short of a straight apology.

"Just to clear up when we were talking about King Kong there, I was mumbling my way through about Goodsey. I was trying to say imagine the old days of trying to get people in for publicity," McGuire said.

"I mumbled my way through that so if anyone thought I was having a go and being a smart aleck I take that back, there was nothing involved".

"I was that exhausted this morning so apologies for that, but I was thinking you know in the old days in these situations the publicity and all that type of thing so yeah I was off on a tangent somewhere. Just in case people think what was he on about, I got no idea either. Simple as that."

Adam Goodes took to Twitter to voice his disappointment at McGuire's comments.

"Morning Australia this is what I have woken up to #racismitstopswithme #bigweekinfooty," he said, posting a link to McGuire's radio gaffe.

Other AFL players such as West Coast Eagle Nic Naitanui also jumped on social media to condemn McGuire.

Even McGuire's own player, Collingwood midfielder Harry O'Brien, slammed the president for what he said.

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter
Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

Last weekend Eddie McGuire was in damage control for the Collingwood Football Club after a teenage girl in the crowd during Sydney's victory over the Magpies was pointed out by Adam Goodes for calling the Indigenous footballer an "ape".

In a separate incident during that key fixture in AFL's Indigenous Round, another 'Pies fan was filmed yelling racial abuse at Goodes and his Swans teammate Lewis Jetta.

While both parties later apologised for their actions, after the game McGuire was determined to send a strong message against racism in the sport, personally visiting Goodes in the change rooms post-match to say sorry on behalf of Collingwood.


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