Eddie McGuire’s recent comments have landed him in hot water, but it’s not the first time for the Collingwood president.
TV PERSONALITY Eddie McGuire’s shocking comments about a female sports writer are the latest in a string of public gaffes from the Collingwood Football Club president.
The Channel Nine broadcaster last week “joked” on Triple M radio about drowning AFL journalist Caroline Wilson at the Big Freeze at the G, an event where celebrities plunge into icy water to raise money for motor neurone disease.
His remarks have caused outrage across Australia, with Wilson telling 3AW she didn’t accept that his “vicious language” was lighthearted, as he has claimed.
McGuire has a history of getting into trouble for vocalising inappropriate observations, which have seen him labelled sexist, racist and homophobic.
Here are six of the worst:
1. ‘KING KONG’
In 2013, McGuire was forced to apologise after making a comment on radio that Sydney Swans’ footballer Adam Goodes could be used to promote the King Kong musical.
It came just days after Goodes was racially abused at the MCG by a 13-year-old girl, who called the player an “ape”.
McGuire made the gaffe while chatting with Triple M co-host and former AFL player Luke Darcy, who was talking about the King Kong musical.
“What a great promo that is, for King Kong,” Darcy said.
McGuire replied: “Get Adam Goodes down for it, d’you reckon?”
“No, I wouldn’t have thought so,” Darcy replied.
McGuire later apologised and said it was “a slip of the tongue”, but Goodes was reportedly bitterly disappointed and said the remark had destroyed their friendship.
There was further tension between the two last May when McGuire apparently criticised Goodes for a war cry celebration: “We’ve never seen that before and I don’t think we ever want to see it again to be perfectly honest, regardless of what it is,” said McGuire.
“If he feels it offended him I feel sorry for Eddie,” Goodes hit back afterwards.
2. ‘A BIT OF BROKEBACK’
Channel Nine faced a stream of complaints when McGuire made homophobic jibes about male figure skaters when hosting the Winter Olympics with Mick Molloy in 2010.
McGuire brought up fashion in ice skating, and Molloy replied that athletes in the sport “don’t leave anything in the locker room”.
“They don’t leave anything in the closet either,” McGuire said.
He then remarked that one competitor’s outfit was “a bit of Brokeback”, in reference to hit movie Brokeback Mountain, which centres on a gay relationship.
3. ‘TURKISH-BORN MUSSIE’
Last August, he called Victorian sports minister John Eren a “soccer-loving, Turkish-born Mussie” at an AFL meeting.
McGuire’s comments at a Magpies function created a Twitter storm, with some labelling the sports mogul racist.
The Collingwood chief defended his comments on the Today show, saying his Muslim friends used the word as “a term of endearment”.
“I checked with them again after the story came out to make sure I wasn’t barking up the wrong tree and they laughed,” he said. “They said they couldn’t believe it and certainly John (Eren) has got no issue with it.”
Mr Eren told News Corp the remark was a timely reminder that leaders in the community needed to be careful about how they expressed themselves. But a day later, he said he did not take offence to the comment.
4. ‘WHEN SHOULD WE BONE HER?’
While running the Nine Network in 2006, McGuire allegedly talked about “boning” presenter Jessica Rowe.
Former Nine News director Mark Llewellyn revealed that when discussing whether to let Rowe go, McGuire said: “What are we gonna do about Jessica? When should we bone her? I reckon it should be next week.”’
Llewellyn, who defected to Seven, told Crikey in 2011: “Not only do I remember Eddie McGuire saying what he said, I remember how he looked as he said it. Including his smirk as he used the ‘bone’ word.”
Rowe later attacked the Collingwood president on breakfast show Studio 10, saying McGuire “made her life hell”.
“The way he allegedly used language against me in the past and the way he has used language to describe Adam Goodes … It’s highly, highly inappropriate, and then to try and explain it away as ‘oh, that was a brain snap or a brain freeze’ — no, that’s not on,” she said. “I think it is racist, I think it is offensive.”
5. ‘LAND OF THE FALAFEL’
McGuire was also labelled racist back in 2011 after he dismissed multicultural western Sydney as “the land of the falafel”.
Speaking about Greater Western Sydney’s young recruits getting tried of living in the area, he said: “I’ve just a put a team together of your 17-year-olds who’ll be sick of living up in the land of the falafel in western Sydney playing in front of a 12,000-seat stadium that’s still not put up.”
He called the backlash over his comments on his Triple M breakfast show a “politically correct beat-up”, saying he’d used the phrase as a term of endearment.
“These things just get out of control,” McGuire told Macquarie Radio. “I don’t know what’s going on. If this is now seen to be abusive to the western suburbs, then I apologise to every person in the western suburbs.
“Every time I pick up a Sydney newspaper they refer to Melbourne as bleak city. No one tears up their nightie. Relax.”
6. ‘KENNEDY SHOOTING’
McGuire defended Collingwood midfielder Alan Didak after the player was involved in his second drink-driving escapade.
Didak and teammate Heath Shaw jumped into a car after a night out and then crashed into a stationary car. Shaw, who was the driver, produced a breath-test reading of 0.14.
Shaw originally told the club Didak, who a year earlier had lied about his involvement in a drinking and shooting spree with convicted killer Christopher Wayne Hudson, was not in the passenger seat.
McGuire initially backed the pair, saying: “Didak will be accused of the Kennedy shooting next.”
The players later both admitted to lying.