AFL great Nicky Winmar and photographer Wayne Ludbey are suing Sam Newman and his fellow You Cannot Be Serious podcast hosts over claims his iconic 1993 gesture wasn’t about race.
In case you missed it, Newman, Don Scott and Mike Sheahan recently discussed the iconic photo of Winmar pointing to his skin back in 1993. But by some wild stretch of their imagination, the three podcast hosts insinuated that Winmar’s gesture wasn’t a stand against racism, despite it very clearly being *exactly* that.
“Maybe Nicky’s dining out on it now about lifting his jumper because I reported on that game at Collingwood,” Scott said in the podcast episode.
“St Kilda played Collingwood and my recollection was that St Kilda won and Nicky lifted his jumper saying, ‘That was a gutsy effort. We have got heart’. Now it’s been misconstrued.”
According to ESPN, both Winmar and the photographer Wayne Ludbey are now taking legal action against all three podcast hosts. The duo are reportedly being represented by Arnold Bloch Leibler law firm, who have extensive experience with reconciliation-related cases.
Ludbey, who was close enough to Winmar at the time to take the now-iconic shot, still stands by his original recollection of the gesture, asserting that it was absolutely a stand against racism.
“Never at any stage in the last 27 years have I veered off my original story,” he explained to ESPN. “I was assigned to do that game, and not only did I photograph it but in front of me was an indigenous man responding to racism.”
Although he went on to clarify that he didn’t personally hear any of the racist comments directed at Winmar, but remains adamant that Nicky was making an anti-racism statement in his gesture.
“They embraced and brought their heads together, and Nicky was repeatedly saying in that euphoric moment of celebration, ‘I’m black and I’m proud to be black, I’m black and proud to be black, I’m black and proud to be black’, to Gilbert (fellow Indigenous footballer Gilbert McAdam) as they embraced. So I don’t know if I can be any more specific about what happened,” Ludbey recalled the events that followed the 1993 game.
But if you don’t want to take Ludbey’s word for it, the rest of us who aren’t White footy commentators all seem to be in agreement that the iconic move from Winmar was his way of standing up against the racism in the game that is still very present to this day.
Heck, he’s even got a bronze statue to immortalise the image, because it really was *that* powerful of a symbol against racism.
Considering Newman legitimately wore blackface on the Footy Show back in 1999 in an attempt to “imitate” Winmar, I really don’t think he’s fit to make a judgement call on what Nicky actually meant on that day in 1993.
Rather than having three White podcast hosts speculate what Nicky Winmar actually meant, why don’t we just let the man speak for himself?
Image: Getty Images