“So I will not be continuing,” Sam Newman began on Thursday night’s episode of The AFL Footy Show. “It’s opportune that I end my association with this show and the [Nine] Network, on the off chance that this is final show that we do.”
Channel 9 is yet to confirm whether the program, which is in the depths of a ratings slump, will return for a 26th year in 2019. And Newman – one of its founding members – has decided to abandon his quick-sinking ship.
With his last gasp, he spoke of his detractors: “The only thing I could say is [that] I’ve probably been the most criticised and traduced person in the media in Australia for, probably, two decades. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because you are what you are. I know who I am, and I know what I am.”
After the emotional monologue, supporters inundated social media with tributes to the former Geelong star. Colleagues praised him. Fans gushed. “An absolute TV genius,” a former producer tweeted. “Icons. Both Sam and The Footy Show,” added a viewer.
— The AFL Footy Show (@AFLFootyShow) September 20, 2018
It’s true that 25 years is an impressive amount of time to hold down a single gig in Australia’s notoriously insular and fickle entertainment industry. And especially so when you’ve dragged a program that’s meant to celebrate football into headlines about racism, poisonous misogyny and the objectification of women.
See while thousands will miss Sam Newman, we will not. Here are just a few of the many reasons why.
1. He presumes his female critics want to sleep with him. [He is wrong. Very wrong.]
It was International Women’s Day 2017; a powerful day to celebrate women and a day to press for change at the height of the #metoo movement.
And there was Newman on The Footy Show, accusing one of his most vocal critics, Herald Sun writer Susie O’Brien, of masking a desire sleep with him.
“I reckon that woman gets aroused when she writes about me,” Newman said. “I am keeping her in business, I reckon she secretly wishes I would chat her up.
“I don’t think she has ever got to worry about the #MeToo movement because I don’t think that will ever visit her.”
2. He referred to a trans woman as “it”.
In 2017, Newman, while talking about Caitlyn Jenner, strayed from his usual racist and sexist diatribe to give The Footy Show audiences a taste of transphobia as well.
“I know who he … it is,” said Newman. “Oh well, what is she? Is it a he or a she? Is it transgender, is it?”