Controversial football identity Sam Newman has been slammed after wearing make-up and women’s clothing in a stunt to criticise transgender athletes.
Weighing into an issue that made recent headlines behind an article by tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Newman appeared alongside former AFL coach Grant Thomas and journalist Mike Sheahan in the clip.
“I think I’ve run my race as an older male and I’m thinking of transitioning,” he said.
The 73-year-old’s video caused outrage on social media.
Much like the backlash to Navratilova’s declaration that trans women are “cheating” by competing in women’s sporting events, Newman and his partners were criticised for implying men are transitioning purely for athletic reasons.
“Are you going to the Olympics?” Sheahan asked.
“I’m going to clean up on world titles as a woman, an older woman,” Newman replied.
It’s not the first time Newman has come under fire on the topic.
In 2017, Newman was taken to task for making jokes about trans celebrity Caitlyn Jenner when he was a member of The Footy Show.
Hannah Mouncey, a trans woman who was unsuccessful in fighting to play in the AFLW, led the criticism of Newman’s latest stunt.
Carlton AFLW star Darcy Vescio also wrote on Instagram: “This is disgusting and damaging. Zero care for other people’s lives. Yuck. Trans people are people.”
Newman defended himself in an interview on 3AW on Tuesday, saying it is “fine” for people to transition as long as they do not attempt to “climb into sport and compete on an equal footing”.
“I’m pointing out the ludicrous proposition where transgender athletes can choose their gender to compete on some sort of contrived footing with other binary biological sportspeople,” Newman said.
“It is absolutely ridiculous and will bedevil world sport unless the authorities come down on some very strict guidelines.
“It is a nonsense. It’s arrogant and selfish and it is presumptuous of people – men, biological men – to think they can transition into being a woman and then compete in sport with other biological females. It’s nonsense.”
Newman said trans athletes should compete in their own category.