AFL Footy Show presenters Sam Newman & Eddie McGuire robustly debated the the AFL‘s support of Marriage Equality last night.
Newman, who pre-empted his editorial by saying he would take same position whether the issue was climate change, whales or greenhouse emissions got stuck into the AFL for taking a political stance and putting a “Yes” logo on AFL House.
“I would have exactly the same opinion. The very fact it’s about the Yes vote for gay marriage is irrelevant, so please don’t hijack this into something it’s not,” he prefaced.
“But who in the hell are these people at the AFL who are telling the football public what they should do in their lives and who they should vote for in any political agenda? Who are you? Who gives you the right to tell people and to put what people should do on the football?”
“Let people go to the football and do what they want to do – just watch the game.”
As Newman got worked up his passion triggered an audience applause.
But Collingwood president Eddie McGuire countered his argument with as much enthusiasm.
“There’s an old saying ‘If you don’t stand for something you stand for nothing,'” he said.
“What we have in our world at the moment, Sam, is a leadership vacuum with politicians who don’t do anything unless there’s a vote in it. We have media who are running agendas to get whatever they want. We’ve got churches that have completely lost any credibility in what they stand for. But the AFL is an organisation that people do look to.
“If you put to the AFL: ‘Do you stand for discrimination?’, they’d put ‘no’ up on the wall,” McGuire said. “Because the AFL stands by ‘It’s not what you are, it’s who you are.'”
“If you’re a 14 or a 15 year old and you’re gay you can come to a football club and be part of it. We’re inviting women in and people of all nationalities. It’s just saying that they are welcoming and for equality. That’s all it is.”
With that McGuire received his own audience applause.
It took Rebecca Maddern to intervene to tell both they had been given ample airtime.
Since Eddie McGuire’s return to the Nine show he indicated Newman would be “unleashed” and the show would look to beef up its news content. Last night the show was beaten by Seven’s Front Bar, including in Melbourne, albeit with different running times.