GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 12: Eddie McGuire looks on during the round two AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at Simonds Stadium on April 12, 2015 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

McGuire issues unreserved apology

Eddie McGuire has released the following statement via the Collingwood website tonight issuing an unreserved apology for his comments last Monday:

“To the Collingwood and the football community at large, I’ve spent the day taking counsel from friends and foes, senior government politicians, the AFL and community leaders.

In particular, Rosie Batty and an old footballing and political mate, Phil Cleary, both of whom have seen first-hand the tragic consequences of domestic violence.

I believe there are two issues at play here.

First the perception, real or otherwise, that last Monday on the stage of the MND Freeze event, in an interview on Triple M that was meant to be harmless fun, things were said that could also be seen as men with a pack mentality attacking a woman.

I met Caroline Wilson in a press box when I was 14.

Over the journey we have had plenty of battles and laughs. It’s all part of the cut and thrust of the media and football.

I’m long past thinking of Caroline as anything but Caroline Wilson.

Gender has never entered my head in terms of the role she plays.

In fact, I hired her for the role she has on Footy Classified because she was the best person for the job.

In the last 24 hours, and particularly since this morning, I’ve seen the impact of the comments on her.

No person should ever feel uneasy or threatened in football’s family.

For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologise unreservedly to Caroline for putting her in that position.

I am a father and a husband.

I am passionate about stopping the violence that claims the lives of more than 65 women a year in Australia.

So too, do I want to continue to play my part in changing the culture that has sustained violence against women.

That includes giving no comfort to men who belittle or mistreat women.

I am really disappointed that I made remarks that are at odds with my views on the place of women in modern Australia.

On July 23, our club, in conjunction with the Pratt Foundation, will host a scheduled fundraising function with Rosie Batty.

Today, on what would have been her son Luke’s 14th birthday, and having spoken to Rosie earlier, I’ll be making a personal contribution to support the victims of domestic violence.

At a time when I am so looking forward to being president of three women’s sporting clubs — Collingwood women’s football, Collingwood netball and the Melbourne Stars women’s cricket club, it is important to show leadership on this issue.

That includes being able to admit you are wrong and willing to learn.”