AFL commentator Sam Newman has resigned from Channel Nine after he attracted criticism for making comments about George Floyd.
- Sam Newman made comments about George Floyd on his own podcast show
- Channel Nine and Newman both said the split was mutual
- Ex-Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba said Newman did not see black people as human
The former Geelong captain and media personality was widely criticised after describing George Floyd as a “piece of shit”.
Floyd was killed when a police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, sparking protests about the treatment of black people by police around the world.
On his podcast show, You Cannot Be Serious, the 74-year-old took aim at Floyd and his criminal record.
“He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he’s a drug addict, he’s a crackhead and he’s a porn star,” Newman said.
“He’s dead because of the police brutality and it never should have happened.
“But I am telling you who George Floyd is, now they’ve made a monument about him and he’s a piece of shit.”
Those comments prompted a Democracy in Colour petition to be formed, calling for him to be sacked.
On Friday, Channel Nine released a statement saying the network had “mutually and amicably” decided to part ways.
“We thank Sam for his service with Nine over several decades,” a Nine spokesman said.
“His contribution to The Footy Show was paramount to the enormous ratings success the show enjoyed over many years.”
Newman said in a tweet that the decision was mutual.
“The 9 network and I have MUTUALLY decided that, in the station’s best interests, I withdraw form [SIC] appearing on their programs — forthwith,” he tweeted.
“For me, the last 35-odd years have been fantastic.”
As host of the Footy Show, Newman frequently courted controversy.
Former Collingwood player Heriter Lumumba, who has been outspoken about the racism he said he experienced in the AFL, said he never appeared on the show because of Newman.
Lumumba added in a Twitter thread that he believed Newman did not see black people as human.
“Sam Newman is doing exactly what he has always done,” Lumumba wrote.
“He is consistent with his bigotry, unwavering with his prejudice, and unapologetic with his tone deafness
“He is one of the reasons why I always refused to appear on the footy show.
“George Floyd’s criminal past shouldn’t disqualify him from being seen as a human being first. Police aren’t conducting background checks before shooting, beating or kneeling on the necks of black people. Why? Because they don’t see us as human. Newman doesn’t sees us as human.”