Eddie McGuire’s comments regarding the coin toss before Friday night’s clash between Sydney and Adelaide have angered fans, with Swans chairman Andrew Pridham labelling McGuire’s words as “disappointing and inappropriate”.
The coin toss was performed by Cynthia Banham, who had both of her legs amputated following a plane crash in Indonesia in 2007.
Banham’s coin toss didn’t go perfectly up and down, which prompted McGuire to make the following comments.
“I think we should introduce a $5000 fine to anybody who’s tossing the coin and can’t do it properly,” McGuire said on the pre-game coverage on Fox Footy.
“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?”
Pridham wasn’t pleased with McGuire’s remarks, and told AFL.com.au McGuire should know better.
“His comments were immensely disappointing and inappropriate,” Pridham said on Friday night.
“Cynthia is an amazing woman. Courageous, humble and inspiring. She does not deserve to be spoken about on national television in that way. No one does.
“Being invited to toss the coin prior to a major sporting event is a great honour and a long-standing tradition. It is a moment to be enjoyed and treasured.
“Regardless of who it is, they are doing it by invitation and as a recognition of their love of the sport or a club. There are no professional coin tossers.
“Eddie, by contrast is a highly experienced and credentialed presenter. He should and does know better.
“As a club we have endured numerous occurrences such as tonight’s. Slip of the tongue, over tiredness etc. Just a misunderstanding, comments taken out of context.
“Eddie needs to focus less on his too frequent sincere apologies and more on tolerance and respect.
“Cynthia has endured significant hardship in her life and her strength shines through. She loves the Sydney Swans. We love her.
“Footy is for everyone.”
Given Fox Footy use Channel 7’s telecast for Friday night matches, McGuire wasn’t on screen again until half-time, but took the first opportunity to apologise for his comments.
“It had nothing to do with Cynthia Banham, who was the coin tosser tonight at the SCG and has a disability,” McGuire said.
“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, her family and friends, Swans supporters and anybody watching tonight who took it that way. My apologies there, for that comment.”