Veteran AFL columnist Mike Sheahan has quit the controversial podcast he hosted with AFL greats Sam Newman and Don Scott over the backlash received from the trio’s comments on Nicky Winmar’s iconic 1993 point.
Sheahan, Newman and Scott cast doubts over whether Winmar’s “I’m black and I’m proud” gesture to fans in Victoria Park was due to being racially vilified.
The comments sparked outrage within AFL circles, with Winmar and the photographer who took the iconic shot of the Saints great, Wayne Ludbey, pursuing legal action against the trio.
In his final appearance on the You Cannot Be Serious podcast, Sheahan profusely apologised for his comments, revealing that Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes had called him in the wake of his comments on Winmar’s gesture.
“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.
“I don’t like unnecessarily hurting people. 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.”
Winmar was deeply hurt by the comments made by Sheahan, Newman and Scott, and did not back down from his account of what took place on April 17, 1993.
“I know what I did, I am not a liar,” he told the Herald Sun last week.
“These white fellas are tarnishing my legacy.”
For his part in the controversy, Newman said he never meant to hurt Winmar with his comments and said he hopes to meet with him to reach a resolution on the matter.
“We were discussing the photo and what the various scenarios of it were. And now, since we’ve had that discussion a huge and giant kerfuffle has broken out about whether what we thought we were talking about and what Nicky Winmar has taken exception to,” he said.
“Could I say that we meant in no way to cause any offence to Winmar and his team and now at this stage there are lawyers and attornies and QCs involved. Standing like the OK Corral at 10 paces waiting to see what happens next.
“We hope to meet with Mr Winmar later in the week or at a time convenient to him and his team to sort this out because we have no ulterior motive in trying to cause any offence at all.
“It was a light-hearted conversation we thought which he has taken exception to.
“We’re trying to resolve the matter in the best interests of all us.”