news

Eddie McGuire ‘joked’ that he wanted to drown a female journalist.

Eddie McGuire has been heavily criticised and censured by AFL bosses after public comments he made, along with North Melbourne president James Brayshaw and former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley about “drowning” Fairfax Media journalist Caroline Wilson.

During a radio segment on the Queens’ Birthday weekend holiday Monday the trio joked about “drowning” the female journalist following the Big Freeze at the G.

They were discussing next year’s event “Big Freeze at the G” where celebrities slide down into ice water to raise money for motor neurone disease.

Caroline Wilson has not yet responded to the comments. Image via YouTube.

McGuire said to the men “In fact I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year. Caroline Wilson. And I’ll put in 10 grand straight away — make it 20. And, if she stays under, 50.”

“What do you reckon guys? Who else is up there? I know you’re in JB” he said to James Brayshaw.

Brayshaw replied: “No, yep, straight in.”

Frawley then said “I’ll be in amongst it Ed”

“I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t — I’ll hold her under, Ed.”

The men chortling with laughter agreed.

McGuire said he would charge $10,000 for "everyone to stand around the outside and bomb her".

“Its all good for footy” McGuire said.

The Big Freeze at the MCG on the Queen's Birthday public holiday raised more than $2 million for motor neurone disease research and awareness.

Of the male commentators joking and laughing about drowning Wilson only football journalist Damian Barrett distancing himself from the remarks.

"I'm on Caro's side now, Ed. I'm on Caro's side these days, Ed," Barrett said.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the segment McGuire also described Wilson as "like a black widow" spider.

"She just sucks you in and gets you and you start talking to her and then BANG! She gets you," he said.

Sadly the comments surfaced on the same weekend as the AFL held a White Ribbon fixture aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence and violence against women and just days after four of Australia's largest sporting organizations signed a statement committing themselves to do more to promote women and clamp down on attitudes which can lead to violence.

Just last week the chief executives of the AFL, NRL and Rugby Union and Netball codes signed on with Our Watch.

"The role the sporting community can play in preventing violence against women and their children can not be underestimated nor understated," Our Watch chief executive Mary Barry said.

"Every CEO, every manager, every coach and every player can assist in calling out sexist attitudes and behaviours."

One women calling out that of Eddie McGuire was journalist Erin Riley who wrote on her blog over the weekend:

"The image of a woman being held under water against her will while people jump on her body is a horrifying picture of violence. It is nothing less” she said.

"And make no mistake, the damage McGuire and co are doing by normalising attitudes of disrespect and violence toward a woman does more harm than a thousand themed matches and white ribbons on uniforms do good," she wrote.

Former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley. Via Twitter.

Yesterday AFL bosses censured the men saying the banter could be “seen to be supporting violent attitudes or actions against women”.

The statement said: “Mr McLachlan said the AFL had expressed the strong view to both club presidents, and All Australian selector Danny Frawley who was also part of the discussion, that although seeking to be light-hearted, the language and tenor of the wording could be seen to be supporting violent attitudes or actions against women, and was therefore clearly not appropriate.”

“All parties have told the AFL this evening they will address their comments within the next 24 hours.’’

Last night Eddie McGuire addressed his comments telling The Herald Sun that anything that “promulgates domestic violence” is  “unacceptable.”

“That was the least of anyone’s intention. The day [the Big Freeze at the G] was based on good humour, sledging of each other and tomfoolery.

“In raising money for motor neurone disease, all day everyone was cracking gags at each other’s expense and that was the tone, clearly, of the banter.

“However, on White Ribbon weekend, we have to be ever-vigilant in stamping out anything that can be misconstrued one iota as supporting the abhorrent act of domestic violence.’’

ADVERTISEMENT

Frawley also apologised on Fox Footy over the weekend.

“Last Monday, on radio I made a couple of insensitive, inappropriate remarks about Caroline Wilson. Clearly it was a poor attempt at humour, for which I sincerely apologise,’’ he said.

“So, we’ll just leave it at that. As I said, it was a poor attempt at humour and it didn’t go down that way.’’

James Brayshaw will address the comments today. Image via Getty.

It is expected James Brayshaw will speak about it on his afternoon radio show today.

In the past McGuire has been a strong advocate against domestic violence.

In 2014 he slammed Singer Tom Jones’s choice of song at the AFL Grand Final.

McGuire took issue with Jones’ decision to include 1968 hit Delilah in his pre-game set.

“I just thought it was the wrong selection,” McGuire said.

“Domestic violence is a massive issue in world sport. In the National Football League in America they are getting absolutely smashed because of their tin-eared approach to domestic violence.

“Tom has got a songbook bigger than the yellow pages ...

“Don’t walk into the fire. Sing It’s Not Unusual, sing the Green Green Grass of Home ...

“It was an inappropriate song in 2014.”

Eddie McGuire slides in the The Big Freeze 2 Celebrity Challenge Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/ Getty.

But it seems like in 2016 McGuire needs to be reminded of what is appropriate and what is not.

As Erin Riley writes: "While McGuire and co were undoubtedly joking, the underlying attitude is dangerous: it reinforces the attitudes of those who are willing to take their hatred of women beyond a “bit of banter”.

What was actually said:

McGuire: In fact I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year. Caroline Wilson. And I'll put in 10 grand straight away - make it 20. [laughter] And if she stays under, 50. [laughter]

What do you reckon guys? Who else is up there? I know you're in JB?

James Brayshaw: No, yep, Straight in.

Danny Frawley: I'll be in amongst it Ed.

McGuire: Is Duck there?

Wayne Carey: Yes, I'm here mate.

McGuire: Duck's in. Danny's in - already spoken up.

Frawley: Yeah I'm in Ed.

McGuire: I could do an auction here today.

Frawley: I'll actually jump in and make sure she doesn't - I'll hold her under, Ed.

McGuire: I reckon we could charge 10,000 for everyone to stand around the outside and bomb her.

Damien Barrett: I'm on Caro's side now, Ed. I'm on Caro's side these days, Ed.

[indecipherable]

McGuire: She'll burn you like everyone else, mate. She's like the black widow. She just sucks you in and gets you and you start talking to her and then bang! She gets you.

Brayshaw: If you ran that auction from down there, I reckon you'd start grabbing some bids out of the seats too. There'd be money piling in everywhere

McGuire: It's be magnificent. I think we should do that next year. It's all good for footy.

Brayshaw: Bloody oath.