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Eddie McGuire apologises, says he will make a 'personal contribution' to help stop violence against women.

There was backlash, an explanation, then another backlash. But last night Eddie McGuire finally issued a proper apology for “banter” about drowning Fairfax football journalist Caroline Wilson.

“In the last 24 hours, and particularly since this morning, I’ve seen the impact of the comments on her,” McGuire said in a video statement.

“No person should ever feel uneasy or threatened in football’s family. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologise unreservedly to Caroline for putting her in that position.”

The controversial comments were made by McGuire, North Melbourne president James Brayshaw and former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley on radio last Monday, while discussing the “Big Freeze at the G”, an event in which celebrities slide into icy water to raise money for motor neurone disease.

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

In last night’s statement, McGuire said he’d consulted with anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosy Batty and had decided to donate to the cause.

“Today, on what would have been her son Luke’s 14th birthday, and having spoken to Rosie earlier, I’ll be making a personal contribution to support the victims of domestic violence,” he said.

McGuire also expressed his disappointment that he had made remarks so “at odds” with his views on women.

“At a time when I am so looking forward to being president of three women’s sporting clubs — Collingwood women’s football, Collingwood netball and the Melbourne Stars women’s cricket club, it is important to show leadership on this issue. That includes being able to admit you are wrong and willing to learn.”

Wilson had slammed McGuire’s earlier dismissal of the comments as “banter, but last night said she would accept his latest apology.

“He’s definitely changed his tune,” she said on Footy Classified last night. “He’s had a few cracks at it and he’s finally got there tonight. It has taken him time but to his credit what he said tonight was absolutely acceptable and I really appreciate that he has done it.”

Meanwhile, Holden, one of Collingwood Football Club’s key sponsors, has told Fairfax media that it is “hugely unhappy and extremely disappointed” with McGuire’s original comments.

A spokesperson for the company said, “comments like these, regardless of their intent, have no place in today’s Australia and reflect poorly on the Collingwood Football Club, its fans, stakeholders and sponsors.

“Holden is engaging with Collingwood to express our disappointment personally and discuss the future of our sponsorship.”

The club also distanced itself from McGuire’s “jibes”, saying in a statement “the very clear view of the board of Collingwood is that there is no place in our community for the support of violent behaviour or language, even in humour.”

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