Nine’s NRL Sunday Footy Show has come under fire after it profiled former Canberra Raiders player Dave Taylor its ad-sponsored “Gutsy Player of the Week.”
Panelists were laughing as host Erin Molan noted he now plays for the Central Queensland Capras in the second-tier Intrust Super Cup.
“He was a gun player in his day, wasn’t he?” she asked.
“What an athlete,” NSW coach Brad Fittler responded sarcastically.
Fellow presenter Joel Caine added: “Well Dave, look, it’s a three-letter word, fit, OK, but it’s very easy to turn the ‘i’ into an ‘a.’ That’s all I’m saying, get that ‘a” back to an ‘i’.”
At the end of the segment, Molan even suggested the panel was “not shaming Dave Taylor at all”, but that was also met with laughter from the other presenters.
The segment is sponsored by protein drink Man Shake which asks “Got a Gut? Shake It Off.”
“I don’ decide the content,” she added.
On social media many criticised the Nine show for its behaviour.
One viewer tweeted: “God bless the double standards with shaming a male with weight as opposed to a female.” While another added: “That is one of the reason(s) why Australia has (one of) the highest male suicide rates in the world today.”
Another said: “Disgraceful, shaming someone about their body! Just imagine the uproar if you did that to a female. Try growing up, and be more respectful.”
Another added, “You guys are the reason I always feel ashamed when I’m at the gym working out, knowing people are laughing.”
Capras CEO Peter White told News Corp, “The Channel 9 Footy Show hosts comments are totally unprofessional to say the least, and they should rightfully so be feeling very ashamed of their behaviour.”
The show is also sponsored by Sport Australia’s Health & Vitality campaign Find Your 30, encouraging adults to commit to at least 30 minutes of activity each day.
A Nine spokesman has issued the following statement: “We apologise to Dave Taylor for yesterday’s segment on the Sunday Footy Show.
“It was not the intention of the show to embarrass him.
“He’s been a wonderful rugby league player for many years, and through his playing and his personality off the field has contributed greatly to rugby league in this country.”