Sam Newman reflects on controversial George Floyd comments
THERE was one question Sam Newman refused to answer about his split with Channel 9, and another query resulting from his controversial George Floyd remarks he "won't dignify" with a response, as the famous footy figure detailed the vile aftermath of his headline-grabbing comments.
Newman and Nine mutually agreed to part ways last week after the Geelong great said Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May when he knelt on the 46-year-old's neck, was a "piece of s***".
As a result of the backlash, Nine and Newman - who was a panellist on the Footy Show for 25 years and slated to make regular appearances on the Sunday Footy Show this season - ended their working relationship.
On the latest episode of his podcast You Can't Be Serious, Newman didn't take too kindly to a question from his good friend and former Herald Sun chief AFL writer Mike Sheahan, which stemmed from the media storm created by the 74-year-old's character assessment of Floyd.
"Are you suffering from attention deficit syndrome, do you think?" Sheahan asked, querying whether Newman craved the spotlight.
The ex-Cats ruckman fiercely denied that suggestion and revealed the vile threats he had received since making his comments about Floyd.
"Meaning do I crave people speaking about me? I won't dignify that with an answer, Mick," Newman said.
"And if you don't know me, do you think at this stage of my life, having been on the television on Channel 9 for over 30 years, do you think that I want to put myself through the things that are being said about me?
"You wouldn't believe - or you would believe - the things that are being said about me. They hope I die, they hope I'm murdered, they hope I'm shot, they hope my grandchildren get raped by felons, they hope my house gets burned to the ground, they hope someone ends up stabbing me.
"Do you think I want to put myself through that for the sake of saying a very accurate statement about a man who shouldn't have been killed but is a very ordinary person?
"Why would I want to? Do you think I crave attention?"
Sheahan thanked Newman for his "very good answer" and while the former Footy Show icon said he was OK being asked any question, this one struck a nerve.
"You're a friend of mine, Mick. I don't care what you ask me," Newman said.
"But if you think I crave attention, I say things that are controversial because we're trying to make this (podcast) a success and I've done it on the television because I tried to make that a success.
"Away from this, you know who I am away from this. Now I'm not trying to convince people I'm a nice person, I'm just trying to tell you that if you think I crave attention, you would know me better than that Mick."
ONE QUESTION NEWMAN WON'T ANSWER
Newman was happy to talk openly about how his exit from Nine played out but he wouldn't be drawn into a discussion on money when Sheahan pressed him about a possible financial settlement with the network.
Sheahan: "Will you still get paid?"
Newman: "Well, I don't want to appear as though I'm dodging that but that is a matter between Channel 9 and I. And if Channel 9 want to say on what basis I have ceased to appear, that's up to them. I don't think I should speak on their behalf. That's reasonable, isn't it?"
Sheahan: "Yep. So you will still be getting paid?"
Newman: "You're no better than the people who take things out of context and try and be controversial and be salacious. I didn't say that at all."
Sheahan: "I deduced that."
Newman: "The great (Australian entertainment reporter) Peter Ford rang me up and asked me that same thing and I said, 'I don't think I'd like to answer that Peter if you don't mind'. And he got on the radio … and he said, 'He (Newman) wouldn't answer the question but I assume and I think and I read between the lines and I say he's been paid out'. That's what he (Ford) said. I'm not answering the question. I'm letting Nine answer that if they wish. I'm not taking that on myself to speak for them."
NEWMAN DISHES DETAILS ON NINE SPLIT
Newman said he volunteered to stand aside from his commitments with Nine when the broadcaster contacted him after his Floyd comments caused widespread outrage.
"Channel 9 rang me up and said, 'We're getting a bit of blowback from the sponsors of the Sunday Footy Show'," Newman said.
"And I said, 'Well, before you go any further, if it will help Channel 9' - because I have no problem with Channel 9 at all, they've been a great employer and they've given me every opportunity to be successful, which I have been.
"I said … if it would help by me withdrawing my services from appearing on your station or my station, I will do that forthwith. And they said, 'That would be acceptable'.
"They thought about it, they rang me back and they said that would be a very good solution to this problem that we are facing and I have no problem doing it.
"It affects me not one iota, I don't need to be on the television."
Originally published as Vile aftermath of Sam Newman storm