AFL identity and official 'continual boofhead' Eddie McGuire has claimed "massive painkillers" were to blame for his infamous, outrageous racist comments saying Adam Goodes should promote the King Kong musical just days after the Sydney Swans star was called an 'ape' by a fan.
The Collingwood Magpies president and AFL broadcaster has given a lengthy interview to GQ magazine, where he opened up on past controversies, a long list which includes (but is not limited to) racist and sexist comments in the media, the Goodes-King Kong saga, claims that he threatened to 'bone' (or fire) then-Channel Nine star Jessica Rowe when he was CEO of the television network, and the recent scandal where he and other AFL personalities joked and laughed about drowning prominent journalist Caroline Wilson. McGuire blamed medication for his comments about Goodes.
"The night before [he made the comments], I'd been hosting a function raising $300,000 for indigenous scholarships [as chairman of former AFL star Michael Long's foundation]... So I was doing all that and I should have stayed in bed that day. I haven't really said this before, but I was on massive painkillers and crutches," McGuire said.
"I was on heavy-duty painkillers, antibiotics and steroids and had got through, but I was exhausted. I'd done two days of [game show] Hot Seat and then did this [event] – the irony is I stayed back there that night and we were working through how I wanted to do the next Anzac Day game, to pay tribute to Indigenous servicemen and women who went to war before being acknowledged as citizens."
McGuire did not blame or mention medication at the time, nor in any public comments in the three years since the 2013 incident, only claiming at the time that he was "zoned out" and tired.
"Did I lie awake over the Adam Goodes thing? Does it still rankle with me to this day? Absolutely. It burns me to the core that what I said would add any level of pain to Adam or the indigenous community," McGuire told GQ.
"I've seen Adam once and we shook hands and hugged, and subsequently he said he didn't know if he could be my friend again – and that's his prerogative. I'd like to think that we would be, one day, and that I prove worthy to him... Look, I'm pure of heart on this issue and I stand firmly for equality and against bigotry of any form – that's why I believe in equality of marriage, because to not do so is to believe in discrimination."
McGuire was not asked about the Caroline Wilson comments, but did speak about claims that he told colleague Mark Llewellyn that he wanted to 'bone' Jessica Rowe in 2011. McGuire has previously claimed he said 'burn' not 'bone', and repeated that defence.
"I checked myself, as it was a word that was bandied about – but it was a Sydney term and it was one that Mark Llewellyn, and others, used quite regularly. I use the term 'burn'. Having said that, it was a rhetorical question put to the director of news as to what he was going to do to save Jessica Rowe as she was getting pounded [in the press]," McGuire told GQ.
"And I refute that I said 'boned' – I may have said 'burned'... I know Jessica's been saying how hurt she was by it and I've deliberately not wanted to pick the scab on this. She was the drive-by victim in all of this – she didn't deserve any of it, and I feel deeply about that. She was the unwitting victim of a fight; she bore the bruntof it and that was terrible."
For his part, Llewellyn has previously said that he was sure McGuire said 'bone'.
To read the whole GQ interview, click here.