Outspoken AFL great Sam Newman has hit out at the decision to crown a painting of Indigenous icon and legend of the game Adam Goodes as the winner of the Archibald Prize.
The portrait – which won its artist Vincent Namatjira the $100,000 prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney on Friday – depicts Goodes pointing to his skin and doing his famous spear celebration.
AFL legend Nicky Winmar first did it in front of racist fans in 1993, while Goodes quit the league in 2015 following racial vilification from opposing fans.
Newman has vocally defended criticism of Goodes – last year claiming the booing directed towards him was not racist – and on Saturday night mocked the move to recognise the portrait of the Sydney Swans legend.
The ex-Footy Show presenter and Geelong icon interpreted entertainment reporter Peter Ford’s saying ‘Wow’ in reference to the announcement as meaning ‘Why Oh Why’.
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Artist Vincent Namatjira’s Archibald Prize winning portrait of former AFL footballer Adam Goodes. Outspoken AFL legend Sam Newman said ‘Why Oh Why’ as he responded to the award in a mocking social media post
Newman, 74, interpreted entertainment reporter Peter Ford’s post saying ‘Wow’ as meaning ‘Why Oh Why’
‘An acronym, obviously “Why Oh Why”,’ Newman wrote.
Namatjira’s work was up against portraits of refugee Behrouz Boochani, Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe and actor Magda Szubanski among the contenders.
The painting also featured himself and Adam Goodes holding hands as well as himself holding an Aboriginal flag on the right.
Last year, Newman was ‘banned’ from watching the new Adam Goodes documentary after he labelled it ‘grovelling’ and fake news.
The Final Quarter explored the champion Sydney Swans player’s final years in the AFL and the persistent booing he received.
‘Criticising someone from another race – doesn’t make you a racist,’ Newman wrote on Twitter at the time.
The career of Adam Goodes – pictured with wife Natalie Croker – and the persistent booing he received was documented in the documentary The Final Quarter
Newman pictured in 2010. Last year, he claimed the booing directed towards Goodes was not racist
‘The groveling doco by Sharks**t Productions ”The Final Quarter”, should be ”The Last Straw”. Adam Goodes initially was booed for taunting Carlton fans. Racist? So be it. #racism #fakenews.’
Goodes was the subject of repeated jeers after he called out a 13-year-old girl who labelled him an ‘ape’ from the stands during a 2013 match.
They continued for years and intensified when he performed an Indigenous dance during a game in 2015.
Newman publicly called out Goodes on The Footy Show back in 2015 saying he was booed for his miming of throwing a spear in the direction of the Carlton cheer squad, not because of his race.
At the time of the booing the AFL Players’ Association released a statement, calling for an immediate end to the attacks on Goodes
‘From one Australian to another Australian – I’m an Australian, so is Adam Goodes – Adam you’re not important as you think you are and you take yourself far too seriously,’ Newman said on Channel Nine’s Footy Show.
‘If you’re going to provoke people by the gesture of spear-throwing at a crowd, you better not be surprised if you get what you wish for and that’s a reaction.
‘Unfortunately you’re not well-enough equipped to deal with fracas and the saga that you’ve caused.
‘You’re just not capable of dealing with it, hence the fact you’ve gone into hiding, you’re not playing anymore.
Newman publicly called out Goodes on The Footy Show back in 2015 saying he was booed for his miming of throwing a spear in the direction of the Carlton cheer squad, not because of his race
‘It is on you as an Australian of the Year to unite and placate people, not to divide and be a provocateur.
‘How about the condescending nature of people who say if you’re an AFL fan and you go to the football and you boo Adam Goodes you’re a racist. How gratuitously stupid is that?
‘I would suggest the people boo Adam Goodes because he has turned their game into a political forum and people go to the football to get away from everything as a release, as an outlet and they don’t want to have to put up with a political statement.’
Goodes, a dual Brownlow Medallist and genuine legend of the AFL, played 372 games for the Swans and booted 464 goals before his 2015 retirement.