• Nicky Winmar and photographer, Wayne Ludbey to pursue legal action over comments made by Sam Newman and podcast co-hosts. (NITV/AAP)Source: NITV/AAP
AFL Legend Nicky Winmar and photographer, Wayne Ludbey, are reportedly suing Sam Newman and co-hosts of his podcast series for comments suggesting Winmar's stand against racism in 1993 was not about race at all.
Douglas Smith

26 Jun 2020 - 4:15 PM  UPDATED 26 Jun 2020 - 4:15 PM

Indigenous AFL legend, Nicky Winmar and photographer Wayne Ludbey are reportedly suing former TV identity, Sam Newman and the co-hosts' of his podcast series, for their attempt to rewrite Winmar’s iconic stand against racism. 

According to ESPN, both Winmar and Ludbey are taking legal issue with comments made by Newman, former Hawthorn player, Don Scott and sports journalist Mike Sheahan, who claimed Winmar’s iconic point to his skin in 1993 was not about race.

On their latest episode of You Cannot Be Serious, all three hosts questioned the authenticity of Winmar’s gesture towards racist taunts from a Collingwood crowd at Victoria Park, and instead, suggested he was pointing at his stomach to say what a “gutsy” effort it was from St Kilda.

“I was at that game at Collingwood. I think there was a misrepresentation here,” said Scott. 

“Maybe Nicky's dining out on it now about lifting his jumper because I reported on that game at Collingwood.

“St Kilda played Collingwood and my recollection was that St Kilda won and Nicky lifted his jumper saying 'That was a gutsy effort. We have got heart'. Now it's been misconstrued.”

Former Herald Sun football journalist, Sheahan said many believed at the time that Winmar was referencing guts.

“The only person who knows what he meant is Nicky Winmar," said Sheahan. 

"He now says he was pointing to the colour of his skin.

“Unlike some of the people I work with, I’m going to consider it before I give an answer.

“I was at Victoria Park that day … and I reckon I left the ground thinking he was talking about guts.”

Newman, who was recently sacked from Channel Nine for calling African-American man, George Floyd, who died in police custody in the US last month, a “crackhead” and a “piece of shit, said Winmar's gesture has been "morphed" into a power tool being used by activists. 

“Well done. And then it just morphed into all that other by activists,” said Newman. 

NSW South Coast community 'not surprised' by councillor's calls to apologise for BLM rallies
Jerrinja woman Hayley Longbottom says she's "not surprised" by a motion lodged by in the Shoalhaven City Council calling for an apology to police officers for recent Black Lives Matter protests. She says there's no reason to apologise.

However, the man who captured the iconic photo on the day, Ludbey, told ESPN that Newman, Scott and Sheahan were all wrong, and gave his account of what happened on the day. 

"I was just doing my job, and it's not about me. It's about a man, a moment and a comment, and his friend Gilbert McAdam," said Ludbey. 

"Nicky was in front of the social club area there and then he ran into the centre of the ground where Gilbert was, I was not far behind.

"What Mike, Sam and Don don't realise is that I had a 400mm lens on initially, and then I put on a wide angle lens, I only had one camera, and then I ran after Nicky, and he ran to Gilbert.

"They embraced and brought their heads together, and Nicky was repeatedly saying in that euphoric moment of celebration, 'I'm black and I'm proud to be black, I'm black and proud to be black, I'm black and proud to be black', to Gilbert as they embraced.

"So I don't know if I can be any more specific about what happened."

According to Ludbey, the explanation offered by the trio came from an inaccurate observation made by then-Collingwood captain Tony Shaw.

Ludbey said there was another photographer there on the day, who was overruled by his editors when explaining the context of the moment. 

“Unfortunately when he went back to the Sunday Herald Sun, his editors didn’t listen to him, and decided to go with the Tony Shaw interpretation,” he said. 

“He’s been quoted confirming what happened.”

Despite three decades of Winmar’s legacy and his stand against racism, trolls continue to subject Indigenous AFL players to racist messages.

'The only problem they have with me is that I was born black': Betts sick of racism, will continue fight
The Cartlon superstar wants Australia to 'listen and learn' in order to stamp out racism after calling out the latest in a long line of attacks directed at him.