Sam Newman, the host of Australia’s Footy Show, has branded Australian Football League execs “virtue signalling whores” for supporting equal marriage.
As Australia votes on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Australian Football League (AFL) has declared its support for the ‘Yes’ campaign.
The League posted a graphic of a ‘Yes’ symbol on a football, adding: “The AFL is committed to equality and diversity, and we support the rights of all Australians to live, work and play free from discrimination.”
But the news has not gone down well with football presenter Sam Newman, who was allowed to go on a two-minute rant against the decision on the Nine Network TV show.
Speaking on The Footy Show, Newman fumed: “Who in the hell are these people at the AFL who are telling the football public what they should do in their lives and who they should vote for in any political agenda… who are you?
“Who gives you the right to tell people what they should do? For god’s sake, there’s a plebiscite going on in the country! What right have you got to say what people should be doing?
“You are saying you should vote Yes… what gives you the right?”
He added: “You are nothing more than obsequious, fawning, sycophantic political whores.
“You have no right to get involved in political messages.
“Let people go to the football and do what they want to do: just watch the game.
“Keep your contrived and conflicted snouts out of people’s lives and let people do what they want to do.
“All you’re doing is virtue signalling, making yourself look grand, when you’re nothing more than overpaid executives.”
He insisted his comments were not opposing equal marriage itself, claiming he would “have exactly the same opinion” no matter the issue and warning people not to turn his comments “into something it’s not”.
He added: “It’s nothing about gays, it’s about political agendas.”
However, the AFL has long spoken out against racism, for indigenous communities, and on climate change without any such controversy.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan responded to Newman’s equal marriage comments in an interview with 3AW Melbourne this morning.
He said: “We’re not telling anyone how to vote, we’re just saying this is what the AFL stands for.
“I think that we are a community leader… we are looked to for leadership on a number of issues and you can’t pick and chose on issues of discrimination.
“I understand and respect everyone’s views, I don’t believe we are grandstanding or that we are political whores.
“We feel strongly that we, as an organisation, we want to say what we think, not lecture people, not get in everyone’s way, make a discreet statement and then get back to the footy.”
It’s not the first time Newman has come under fire over an anti-LGBT rant on the show.
The host has previously criticised teams for acknowledging LGBT Pride events.
When gay NFL player Michael Sam was drafted in 2014, Newman lashed out at the player for kissing his boyfriend on-air as he celebrated, just as many other players kissed their girlfriends.
Newman claimed: “It was an annoying, gratuitous act. Kissing your boyfriend… no heterosexual couple would do that. It was a gratuitous act, an annoyingly gratuitous act.”
When his co-hosts pointed out that plenty of straight players did kiss their girlfriends on-air, Newman hit back: “It’s my opinion and an opinion can’t be wrong.”
Newman was also forced to apologise just months ago after making derogatory comments about Caitlyn Jenner.
The presenter was responding after his co-presenter suggested Newman and Jenner look alike.
Newman said: “I know who he is… who it is? What is she? Is it a he or a she?
“Still got the bloody… it’s a transgender, or what is it?”
He later said: “I regret the comments I made about Caitlyn Jenner. What I said was not appropriate and I’m sorry to anyone offended.”