Former football great Sam Newman has now called on fans to drown out country welcome ceremonies by singing the We Are One chorus from the alternative national anthem, I Am Australian.
The new call comes just 24 hours after he sparked fury by demanding the widely interpreted Aboriginal greeting be booed by Australians.
But appearing as a guest on the right-wing counterculture podcast “The Opposition” with Avi Yermini and Rukshan Fernando, Newman returned to his earlier idea.
“What if, when all the nonsense and bullshit of Welcome to Country starts, the crowd starts chanting, “We are one, we are many”? he said.
“What’s wrong with this song?”
“If people sang this song at the start of the welcome to country ceremony and drowned it out, it would probably be better than booing.”
Former football great Sam Newman has called on fans to drown out country welcome ceremonies by singing the We Are One chorus from alternative anthem I Am Australian.
Appearing on right-wing counterculture podcast “The Opposition” with Avi Yermini (left) and Rukshan Fernando (right), Sam Newman reversed course on his previous call to boo the ceremonies.
Newman, 77, has frequently attracted controversy over racial issues since entering the media following a successful 16-year playing career with the Geelong Cats.
As host of Nine’s The Footy Show, he sparked outrage when he donned blackface to impersonate Indigenous player Nicky Winmar on live television.
In his own podcasts, he called George Floyd, who sparked the Black Lives Matter riots in the United States after being killed by police, “shit.”
After last year’s AFL grand final, he attacked the match’s eulogy for Aboriginal icon Uncle Jack Charles, calling him a ‘heroin-addicted Aboriginal criminal’ .
He also spoke out against Voice to Parliament and said Indigenous Australians “have no history” and were not the nation’s first people.
On his own You Cannot Be Serious podcast earlier this week, he said Australians should boo or slow down their applause during any welcoming ceremony to the country.
“We don’t want to put up with that,” he told fellow AFL legend co-host Don Scott. “We’re not going to be patronizing.”
He said it started “from a totally innocuous introduction by Ernie Goofy a few years ago and people latched on to it” and unabashedly admitted that booing was “rude”.
The comments sparked a backlash, with AFL chief executive Gil McLachlan condemning the remarks and rejecting any attempt to abandon the ceremony.
“I’m not going to honor those kinds of individual responses in the community except to say that I disagree very definitively,” McLachlan said Thursday.
“I think the Welcome to Country message throughout the final series and the anthem has been hugely upheld. People are standing up, clapping, feeling included.
“It goes into the anthem and then into the start of our game. It’s a brilliant part of our game now.
Hours later, Newman changed his mind by booing when he spoke to The Opposition podcast and shrugged off claims he was racist.
“No one can tell you what the definition of a racist is,” he insisted. “Racism is about hatred…I get along well with every indigenous people I have ever met.
“I don’t know why it comes down to racing.
“It’s just despicable to stand up and have someone welcome you to the country you’ve been in, who is younger than you in the first place, whether it’s someone’s aunt or someone’s uncle another one.
“These people are enjoying the spoils of a life that began in this country when settlement took place in the mid-1770s, or whenever it did, and everyone prospered.”
“Some who are white have not done it, others who are black have not. Adversity hits everyone: you don’t have to have a different skin color to know what adversity is.
“But if we all stopped trying to divide ourselves along these lines and came together…”
Sam Newman changed his mind about booing when he spoke to The Opposition podcast and ignored claims he was racist.
A version of I Am Australian by Judith Durham of The Seekers (pictured), Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply and Mandawuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi reached number 17 in the charts in 1997.
The song, I Am Australian, was written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley of the Seekers and Dobe Newton of the Bushwhackers, and is often called Australia’s other national anthem.
It was used by the Salvation Army’s television advertisement for its Red Shield appeal in 1996 and by the Republican movement in 1999 for its referendum campaign.
A version by Judith Durham of The Seekers, Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply and Mandawuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi reached number 17 on the ARIA charts in 1997.
It was also used in Telstra’s television advertisements for its high-profile campaigns during the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Newman said singing We Are One was “the most anti-racist thing you could get.”
“How many times a day should I be welcomed into the country? I live there,” he said.
“Stop telling us we are welcome in our country when we are welcome anyway. We should be welcome.
He added: “What is happening? Why doesn’t someone say wait a minute, it’s so insulting. It’s just insulting.
“It’s humiliating to have to observe this feigned virtuosity, this guilt of having somehow stolen the earth.”
‘What does that mean? Stolen land. There was nothing here until someone came along and did something with it.