A star Aboriginal Australian rules football player racially abused as an “ape” by a 13-year-old spectator last week was stunned yesterday when a top figure in the sport said he should be promoting the musical King Kong.
Australian rules star Adam Goodes spoke out on Saturday after the Collingwood supporter called him an ape from the sidelines of the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday and he had her removed from the stadium.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire was among the first to apologize to the Sydney Swans player over the incident, which left Goodes devastated and unable to enjoy the highly publicised indigenous round.
“I’m pretty gutted to be honest,” Goodes said. “She’s 13 years old, still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her. Unfortunately it’s what she hears and the environment that she’s grown up in has made her think that it’s OK to call people names.”
The girl and her taunt have been the subject of intense media scrutiny, but McGuire exacerbated the situation on Wednesday when he mentioned Goodes while discussing the musical King Kong, which is playing in Australia.
“Get Adam Goodes down for it, do you reckon?” McGuire asked his co-host on his morning radio show, Luke Darcy, who replied: “No, I wouldn’t have thought so, absolutely not.”
McGuire added: “You know with the ape thing, the whole thing, I’m just saying the pumping him up and mucking around and all that sort of stuff.”
He later described the comments as a “two-second slip of the tongue.”
“I wasn’t racially vilifying anybody,” he told a press conference.
“I’m not a racist. I’ve done a lot of things in the past and continue to fight for the cause of equality in Australia,” McGuire said.
He said he had apologized personally to Goodes, who had told him he was disappointed.
Goodes has not commented publicly beyond tweeting a link to the story with the comment: “Morning Australia, this is what I have woken up to.”