Eddie McGuire says he really didn’t know who was tossing the coin.
Eddie McGuire says he really didn’t know who was tossing the coin.

Eddie McGuire stands down over ‘ignorant’ joke

Eddie McGuire has stood himself down from a scheduled TV commitment after his "ignorant" comment towards Swans ambassador Cynthia Banham.

McGuire and Fox Sports announced on Saturday the high-profile Collingwood president will not feature in Saturday's broadcast where he was scheduled to host the Fox Footy pre-match coverage of Essendon's game against St Kilda in Melbourne.

McGuire released a statement to announce he made the call to walk away from his regular Saturday role.

"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 the 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."

It was the second public statement McGuire has released since the scandal erupted on Friday night and the third time he has apologised publicly for his "ignorant" joke.

The Herald Sun reports McGuire's decision to suspend himself was made with the support of Fox Sports.

"Following comments Eddie McGuire made about coin tossing during last night's coverage of the Sydney v Adelaide game, Eddie has requested not to call today's game. We support this decision," head of Fox Sports Peter Campbell said.

Sydney Swans Ambassador Cynthia Banham has received a personal apology from Eddie McGuire.
Sydney Swans Ambassador Cynthia Banham has received a personal apology from Eddie McGuire.

"We are disappointed with the comments made and we deeply apologise to Cynthia, her family and the Sydney Football Club."

McGuire earlier said he is "devastated" after learning the identity of the woman he poked fun at during his Friday night call of Sydney's loss to Adelaide.

McGuire on Friday offered an "unreserved" apology after making comments on Fox Footy about the coin toss at the SCG.

Before the match, McGuire scolded the coin tosser, who appeared to struggle while flipping the dime before the bounce.

"I think we should issue a $5000 fine for anybody who is tossing the coin and can't do it properly," McGuire said from the commentary box.

"Every week we have someone dropping it on their foot. Come on, toss it up properly for goodness sake. Practice in the week, you know you're going to do it. It can't be that hard can it guys, seriously."

The problem was the woman in question was Banham, a scholar and former journalist who had both legs amputated in a 2007 plane crash that killed 21 others.

She was covering a tour by the Australian foreign minister when the plane crashed.

Banham is the Swans' number one ticket holder since late last year and holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Masters in International Affairs.

The comments were labelled "ignorant by the Swans.

McGuire apologised unreservedly on Friday night.

He has since released a statement to say he is "devastated and apologetic".

"The Swans say it was an ignorant comment. I am guilty of ignorance," McGuire said in a statement.

"I didn't see the lead up to the toss and had no knowledge of who it was.

"I saw out of the corner of my eye the coin fly out and was having a laugh at coin tossing in general.

"Once I realised who and what it was I was totally devastated and apologetic.

"I have apologised publicly and privately.

"I am deeply sorry that I have taken away from what should have been a wonderful occasion for Cynthia, her family and friends."

It comes as the AFL also released a statement to confirm the league had been made aware of McGuire's apology to Banham and the Swans.

"Eddie McGuire last night reached out to Cynthia Banham, the Sydney Swans and the AFL to apologise unreservedly for his inappropriate on-air comments," a spokesperson said, according to The Herald Sun.

"He acknowledges his comments caused distress and do not reflect those of our game, which prides itself of on being welcoming to all."

Plane crash survivor Cynthia Banham tossed the coin for the Swans and Crows match
Plane crash survivor Cynthia Banham tossed the coin for the Swans and Crows match

At halftime, McGuire apologised for the comments and for any offence that may have been caused.

"Before the match I made some comments about how we do the coin toss," he said.

"It had nothing to do with the Cynthia Banham, who was the coin tosser tonight at the SCG who has a disability. I just want to apologise if this was communicated in the wrong way.

"I did not mean to offend anyone, especially Cynthia and I apologise unreservedly to her and her family and friends and Swans supporters and anybody watching tonight who took it that way. My apologies for that comment."

In a statement from the Sydney Swans, the club said it was "incredibly disappointed by inappropriate comments made tonight by Eddie McGuire".

"The comments show not only a lack of empathy, but also ignorance," it read.

"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 recognition of their love of the sport or a club, the statement continued.

"It is a tradition that should be celebrated," it said.

"We are extremely proud that Cynthia was there to toss the coin for our first home game at the SCG this season."


Eddie McGuire’s TV career spans more than 30 years.
Eddie McGuire’s TV career spans more than 30 years.

Eddie McGuire has a track record of putting his foot in it - particularly when it comes to Sydney.

The popular media figure in 2011 described the home of the AFL's newest club, the GWS Giants, in western Sydney as "the land of the falafel". It sparked a long-running slanging match with the Giants' inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy.

He has also shared a long-running public feud with Swans chairman Andrew Pridham and his predecessor Richard Colless.

In 2013, just days after Swans champion Adam Goodes was called an "ape" by a young Collingwood supporter, McGuire was forced to apologise for suggesting Goodes could be used to promote the King Kong Musical featuring in Melbourne.

More recently McGuire has also offered an apology to veteran journalist Caroline Wilson during the annual Big Freeze at the MCG event where he appeared to suggest he would donate money to see Wilson go down the ice slide and stay under the water.

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