Eddie McGuire has stepped aside from today’s Fox Sports broadcast after he criticised Sydney Swans ambassador and double amputee Cynthia Banham‘s coin toss at the SCG on Friday night.
“Out of respect for Cynthia Banham and the Sydney Swans, I have requested not to call today’s game between Essendon and St Kilda,” McGuire said in a statement.
“I am deeply sorry and regretful for the comments I made last night about the coin tossing system.
“I should never have spoken without properly viewing the footage.
“I unreservedly apologise to Cynthia, her family and the Sydney Football Club for the pain and hurt that my comments have caused.”
Banham, a respected journalist, had her left leg and part of her right leg amputated after she survived a 2007 plane crash in Indonesia. When she appeared to struggle during the coin toss prior to the Swans-Adelaide Crows clash, McGuire said the AFL should introduce a $5000 fine to anyone who “can’t do it properly.
“Every week, we have someone dropping it on their foot. Come on, toss it up properly, for goodness sake. Practise in the week, you know you’re going to do it. It can’t be that hard can it, guys? Seriously.”
At halftime, McGuire apologised “unreservedly” for his comments.
Eddie McGuire’s apology on Fox Footy tonight regarding comments he made of the coin toss. pic.twitter.com/7975b22Es9
— Rhett Bartlett (@rhettrospective) March 29, 2019
After the match, the Swans issued a statement in support of Banham – “a passionate Sydney Swans member, our number one ticket holder, and a courageous woman who is an inspiration to all of us at the club.”
The Sydney Swans are incredibly disappointed by inappropriate comments made tonight by Eddie McGuire.
The comments show not only a lack of empathy, but also ignorance.
Cynthia Banham is a passionate Sydney Swans member, our number one ticket holder, and a courageous woman who is an inspiration to all of us at the club.
She was one of the key figures behind our Diversity Action Plan.
Regardless of who is invited to toss the coin, they are doing so by invitation and as a recognition of their love of the sport or a club.
It is a tradition that should be celebrated.
We are extremely proud that Cynthia was there to toss the coin for our first home game at the SCG this season.