The AFL Player Spectator Current AFL Threat Level

Millionaires with a Year Ten Education
<     >

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sam Newman versus The Sisterhood

Mediocre former footballer Sam Newman, 72, is no stranger to controversy. While his playing career in post-War Geelong was of little import, he's created big waves re-inventing himself as a buffoon on the widely-panned AFL Footy Show. With his badly botched face and reputation as a pants man, he gained a public notoriety far in excess of his media abilities. His greatest success has been to take a penchant for abusing migrants, the elderly and teens in the street and turn it into a lucrative earner. (More details about his misogyny, idiocy and hate can be found on Wikipedia.)

Sam Newman's most recent controversy arose after an attack on fellow media personality and football writer, Caroline Wilson. "Caro" is the chief football writer for The Age, and appears on Nine's Footy Classified chat show. Newman attacked her on The Footy Show in a now-infamous sketch involving a mannequin in lingerie, a staple gun, a cut-out image of Wilson's face and biting references to her dress and appearance.

You can see some video footage of Newman's brand of hate-filled puppetry here:

The host of both shows, Gary Lyon, faced criticism for failing to stop Newman during his "skit" and for not standing up for his co-panellist (on another show), Wilson. While a half-arsed sort-of apology was forthcoming from Lyon, Newman has remained firm. Channel Nine wasn't budging and signals from the AFL hierarchy indicated that, while they didn't like it, they weren't going to do anything about it.

So in response, a group of senior women in AFL - mostly board members of the various clubs - wrote a letter demanding that The Footy Show tone it down and receive a seminar on respecting women. Newman's response on radio was to dismiss the women as "shrieking, hysterical, desperate". He announced on-air that he tried to quit, but Channel Nine would not accept his resignation and forced him to continue.

And why wouldn't they? This kind of thing is a ratings winner. And besides, it's unlikely to mollify their critics. So they'll be trying a different tack:

I'm not sure if our football industry - in particular The Footy Show - has really embraced the AFL's policy on respect and responsibility for women. Perhaps attending some seminars is a good starting point.

*** UPDATE ***

For the sake of completeness, we'll provide a mini-wrap on the Sam Newman situation. In a word, he's been boned. Channel Nine management, hoping to ride out the imbroglio, spent eight weeks batting the issue away. Sam kept escalating - calling some critics liars, for instance - and the media (led by The Age) kept pushing. Finally, after ratings slipped 15% and some advertisers took their concerns public, the axe fell.

Sam Newman has been dropped from The Footy Show, indefinitely, by Nine's Melbourne supremo Jeffrey Browne.

Sure, some bland motherhood statements were made (did I hear "gardening leave"?). Newman has been publicly ordered into counselling with a psychologist who specialises in troubled children. Nice one. He's been off the air for three weeks (even nicer). He's also contracted the flu, broken his ankle doing weights and had hospital treatment for a hernia resulting from a coughing fit. (I suspect the collective wishful thinking of Melburnians may have played a role in that run of bad luck.)

In a remarkable scoop, Age columnist Catherine Deveny gives us all an extraordinary insight into the counselling sessions with this transcript.

So I guess we can add Sam Newman to the list of ultra-arrogant football alpha-males to have been humbled in recent months, alongside Ben Cousins and Wayne Carey. Who's next?

*** UPDATE ***

Well, I have to admit to being fooled on this one. I thought Sam Newman would stay off the air for at least a couple of months, maybe until the finals started. But no. Three bloody weeks. In a sarcastic and unrepentant tone, he announced to the host, Garry Lyon, "I actually feel cleansed, Garry ... I feel refreshed, and I have learned a lot about myself, Gaz".

Newman hams it up for bogans.
Source: The Age.

This year, Newman's had cameras up his arse, painful surgery made worse by having Eddie McGuire hovering around asking questions and trying to look useful, broken bones and now he's been publicly dressed down and sent to counselling sessions. How much more humiliation can this idiot take? I look forward to finding out.

*** UPDATE ***

Serial pest Sam Newman has only been back on telly for a couple of weeks, but he's already generating headlines with his hate-filled, sexist "quips". This one relates to his assessment of a female Tasmanian politician, Paula Wriedt, as "worthy of coming on". Credit to the panel, they immediately took him to task - once the guffaws from the audience died down.

You can watch the video of Newman's witty wordplay and read the transcript here. Predictably, Channel Nine have dug their heels in rather than concede they've made yet another mistake in letting this buffoon on air. Nine News describe the offensive remark as a "quip" and referred to Caroline Wilson's ritual humiliation as a "gag".

Come on!

Word Count: 407

Labels: , , ,


«           *           »