Sam Newman, a former player for the Cats, has launched an extraordinary attack on the sport’s Indigenous community during the Grand Final.
He took aim at the league’s decision to acknowledge the indigenous people during the match.
The ceremony was officiated by Uncle Colin Hunter Jr., and an Acknowledgement of Country was delivered by Seven’s Hamish McLachlan.
The day also included a tribute to Jack Charles, an activist, musician, actor, and Elder Uncle who was a prominent figure in the Yokayi Footy program and the 2022 AFL Finals ad campaign.
He died earlier this month at the age of 79. After the Cats won the grand final, Newman took aim at the league for its actions, calling them “the Indigenous show of just nonsense.”
He doubled down on his criticism in his You’ta-Bit Serious podcast.
“The grand final day was marred by two things … this patronising nonsense about us welcoming the original landowners to this country,” he said.
“Absolutely we admire and we respect and we give thanks to the traditional land owners for where the game is to be played and we acknowledge that.
“But the virtuous, patronising nonsense that the AFL go on with. A patronising campaign to foster this feigned indignation to divert from their own paranoid white privilege – all they do is drive a wedge between the footballing public, yet we see through it.
“We had a man with a beard came out and told us … about where the boundaries of all the various tribes and things go. Just an absolute propaganda chat about nothing.
“And then, if that wasn’t enough … then the CEO’s brother gave us welcome to country.”
“And then a man with the jolly title of Uncle Jack,” Newman added.
“They did a eulogy to an Indigenous man called Uncle Jack, who I believe didn’t play football at all.
“Why would you have to actually give him a eulogy at the grand final. For what reason? It’s sheer projection to its patronising nonsense.
Newman went on to say,
“We had three references to Indigenous people. Good on ‘em, but I mean how many times did they have to fall over themselves to show that we’re being woke, we’re enlightened – we don’t have to be told that.”
“I don’t know why the New York Times got into this … now I’m just reading this out: ‘Jack Charles is one of Australia’s leading Indigenous activists and who’s been the grandfather of Aboriginal theatre, but whose heroin addiction and penchant for burglary landed him in jail throughout his life, died’.
“So I don’t care what he’s done, I just want to know why he’s occupied any space or any time at the grand final.”