There are growing calls for the AFL to take action against Eddie McGuire, after his “ignorant” comments about amputee Cynthia Banham.
Banham is the Sydney Swans’ number one ticket holder with McGuire criticising her coin toss on Friday night.
As a result, McGuire repeatedly apologised and stood down from Saturday’s broadcast of Essendon’s game against St Kilda.
However, the Swans and sports journalist Caroline Wilson want the AFL to sanction the high profile Collingwood President.
In addition, disability advocates also slammed McGuire’s comments, describing them as “harmful”.
The offensive comments
McGuire made the offensive comments as Banham tossed the coin before the Swans and Adelaide Crows clash.
Banham, a former journalist, had both legs amputated after surviving a plane crash in Indonesia in 2007 that killed 21 others.
Banham is the Swans’ number one ticket holder in addition to holding Doctor of Philosophy and a Masters in International Affairs.
When Banham appeared to have trouble flipping the coin, McGuire let loose from the commentary box:
“I think we should issue a $5000 fine for anybody who is tossing the coin and can’t do it properly.
“Every week we have someone dropping it on their foot.
“Come on, toss it up properly for goodness sake.
“Practice in the week, you know you’re going to do it.
“It can’t be that hard can it guys, seriously.”
Swans label comments as ‘ignorant’
The Sydney Swans quickly issued a statement as a result of the comments, labelling McGuire “ignorant”.
“The comments show not only a lack of empathy, but also ignorance.
“Cynthia Banham is a passionate Sydney Swans member, our number one ticket holder, and a courageous woman who is an inspiration to all of us at the club.
“She was one of the key figures behind our Diversity Action Plan.
“Regardless of who is invited to toss the coin, they are doing so by invitation and as recognition of their love of the sport or a club.”
Swans chairman Andrew Prodham later called for the AFL to “show leadership” and take action against McGuire.
“In the past we’ve seen where the AFL has been too slow to things and not have a great feeling for what the community is thinking,” he said.
“To do nothing, say nothing, is highly inadequate.”
McGuire should pay
Football writer Caroline Wilson called on the AFL to take action.
“He is a club president so it is within their rights to do something they have done so in the past,” she said.
“I’m just thinking off the cuff here but surely at the very least, Eddie could be asked to make a donation to the charity that Cynthia is a spokesperson for. I mean that could be one thing that the AFL could insist that Eddie do.”
McGuire apologies publicly three times
McGuire soon apologised for the comments.
“I unreservedly apologise to Cynthia, her family and the Sydney Football Club for the pain and hurt that my comments have caused.”