They Need To Go

Sexism in the AFL reached a new low last Thursday night. While I don’t expect too much from most of the hosts on The AFL Footy Show, I did have a higher opinion of David Hughes. But that has now disappeared, especially given his leadership role the other night.


For those who don’t know, Rebecca Maddern is the only woman on Channel 9’s Footy Show, which is broadcast out of Melbourne. When she was appointed I thought, well, that’s good, but it will be hard with just one woman, again proving the quality of my predictive opinions.


Rebecca dared to have an opinion about the crepe banners that the AFLM run through each game, suggesting they are a bit tacky and unprofessional. There are some, including the other (male) hosts, who disagreed with her. But they brought that disagreement to a whole new debased level.


She was made to go through a banner that included a topless woman. The banner read


“No hard feelins Bec, but what the heck?! Without makeup you look like Shrek.”


Feel free to watch the program at your leisure.


When Rebecca saw the banner, held up by two of the (male) hosts, you could see that she was clearly uncomfortable – and probably outraged. Her professionalism stopped her from creating a scene. She clearly stated that she would not be going through the banner, but that fabulous piece of human being (Sam Newman) made her get up and “run” through it. It was bullying, harassment and blatant sexism at its worst.


David Hughes claimed that the league’s cheer squads had made the banner for her. He should have left it in the change rooms if that was the case.


Is this what is going to happen every time a (lone) woman on a panel has an opinion that is different from the blokes? Rather than be adults and debate the argument in a logical way, the appearance of the one woman was pilloried. Yes, her appearance and not the tenor of the argument. And did I mention the picture was of a topless parody of Rebecca? Just let all that sink in.


This is why women need to be 50 per cent of everything. Blokes ganging up on a woman; humiliating and belittling her in the name of comedy: it ain’t funny. Rather, it is offensive – and not just to Rebecca, but to all of us women.


Channel 9 needs to get their act together and take this program off air. Or, gosh, it could issue an apology and just take the five blokes off air and replace them with some of the fabulous women who were part of the commentary for the AFLW.


I have enormous respect and sympathy for Rebecca. But this is actually about women more generally, too. I am disgusted that women are objectified in this way.


Unless and until television (and radio) can diversify their footy panels so that they include more than white men, I doubt there will be any improvement in standards.


I could write a treatise about how this sort of behaviour impacts upon general community behaviour including acceptance of violence against women being the norm; but I’ll save that for another day.


About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. Mick Jeffrey says

    The reason why that show shouldn’t be on the air is that because hardly anyone watches or cares anymore. Only reason why the plug hasn’t been pulled is the sponsors that probably fund the thing, and the fact that the alternate would be an even bigger case of ratings suicide (showing NRL games of which Melbourne people only care about 4 games, 3 of which involve the same 2 teams and the other is in October).

    The response to the opinion (the opinion which IMO I can’t agree with, and makes Bec sound like another corporate shrill who wants as little fan participation as possible rather than a fan who gets paid to talk about it) wasn’t exactly what I would have thought was acceptable, which probably is a reflection of the show itself rather than the personalities involved. It probably should have been nixed at the production meeting, especially with Lou’s passing earlier that week.

  2. Daniel Flesch says

    Totally agree with you , Anne . Well said. Sam Newman is deliberately rude , sexist , arrogant and unpleasant because it’s his schtick . Sadly , a lot of men go right along with him – including younger ones at that who i might have thought would know better. Neither have i ever found Dave Hughes funny , but a lot of people do so he keeps all his gigs. I’m not sure about Mick Jeffrey’s first sentence above .I wish he was right but i doubt it . If the ratings were bad there wouldn’t be sponsors .

  3. That show is a time warp and stale. I stopped watching it years ago. Get on to Marngrook Footy Show where there is some great characters and two regular female panelists whose opinions and views are treated with respect.

  4. Paul Young says

    Well said Anne.

    The Footy Show with Sam Newman is just a shit show. Replace him with a smarter, more credible, worldly and far more respectful football personality and the show might have a chance of being relevant.

    A young ‘Lou Richards’ type would smarten that show up and might make it watchable again.

    Lou Richards was ten times funnier, never belittled people nor did he stoop to being malicious/vindictive as Newman is to garner cheap laughs.

    After all those years working with and observing the great Lou Richards, what a pity Newman never learned a single thing about how to entertain and make people laugh with dignity.

  5. Marngrook is the only show to watch, l love it. it treats people with respect and doesn’t look to put people down like that other garbage. Just don’t watch that other crap any more, and they will soon get the message

  6. Adam Fox says

    That was a real stinker. Haven’t watched for some time now following Newman’s incessant commentary on both the Essendon supplements scandal and the Adam Goodes saga. Switched over to see if they had a tribute to Lou Richards, which I figured they would, but this was just real bottom of the barrel stuff, if not just desperate to attract controversy as well. Pretty sure they wouldn’t have done this in the early days of the show – back when there was some vague discussion about football, although do correct me if I’m wrong.

    Stick with Marngrook.

  7. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Thanks everyone for the comments. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that Marngrook is the way to go.

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