'It's shaken me': Fresh fallout in Sam Newman racism saga

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Mike Sheahan, left, has announced he will be leaving the podcast he has hosted with Sam Newman, right, and Don Scott for several years, after heavy backlash to an episode they recorded last week resulted in legal action. Picture:Twitter/Sam Newman

Veteran AFL journalist Mike Sheahan has quit the podcast he hosted with former Footy Show host Sam Newman and Hawthorn champion Don Scott, after the trio were heavily criticised for a segment on St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar last week.

The podcast, and most notably Newman, has been in the headlines in recent weeks thanks to Newman’s outspoken criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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A recent episode saw the trio discussing Nicky Winmar’s iconic gesture towards Collingwood fans who had directed racist taunts at him, the St Kilda champion lifting his jumper, pointing to his skin and saying ‘I’m black and I’m proud’.

Sheahan, Scott and Newman all settled on an alternative version of history when discussing the events of that day, suggesting Winmar was pointing to his stomach to say his team had ‘guts’.

Winmar, along with photographer Wayne Ludbey, have launched legal proceedings against the podcast as a result, with the pair having never deviated from their version of events that day, and also having been backed up by multiple St Kilda players at the time, as well as other reporters on the ground.

In the most recent episode Sheahan apologised for his comments, and announced he would no longer appear on the podcast, prompting Newman to label him ‘weak as piss’.

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Sheahan, an otherwise respected football writer for several decades, said the angry and hurt response from many players, notably Indigenous champions Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, who contacted him directly, had led him to come to his decision.

“I’m not as accustomed as you to the fallout and the public scrutiny so it’s shaken me a bit,’’ Sheahan said.

“The thing that worried me most is I definitely did hurt some people who I regard as football friends.

“Indigenous people, Indigenous players, who I have a healthy relationship with, they were hurt and angry.

“Adam Goodes rang me and was clearly hurt and a little angry about what I’ve said. Mick O’Loughlin and I spoke.”

Sheahan said he didn’t want to hurt people for no reason, and that it had become clear that he would do just that by continuing to appear on the show.

He went on to apologise for his comments.

“I don’t like unnecessarily hurting people,” Sheahan said.

“I’m speaking for me here. I think I see myself through their eyes as attacking an Aboriginal monument in football.

“I genuinely feel they were hurt by what I said.

“This is the forum where we discussed the issue initially and this is the forum where I should say I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused you guys.”