Eddie’s comment betrays more than ‘just a joke’

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If there is someone who lives by the dictum that “all publicity is good publicity” it must be Eddie McGuire.

Eddie McGuire referred to the Victorian sports minister John Eren as a “soccer loving Turkish born Mussie” during the AFL’s annual general meeting in March.

Eddie of course said that this was done ‘In jest’.

“The point I was making was that we’ve got a Turkish born soccer loving Mussie as sports minister, (it) shows you how far we have moved, this is what it is all about.”

McGuire said Mr Eren was a personal friend.

“John Eren’s a mate, I’ve worked with him, he’s the minister of an area I am heavily involved in, we talk every other day,” he said.

The Minister also took it in his stride.

“As a fellow Broadmeadows boy, I’ve known Eddie a long time. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it.

“As Minister for Sport for a great multicultural state, I’ll get on with the job of working with all codes.”

Although he also added that it was “a timely ­reminder that leaders in the community need to be careful about how they ­express themselves.”

Some on twitter also said this was a storm in a teacup.



Even the Islamic Council of Victoria wasn’t too fussed .

Its secretary Kuranda Seyit told Fairfax Media the term ‘Aussie Mussie’ was “a fun way” of breaking down misconceptions about Muslims and making them more acceptable to mainstream Australia.

“I personally don’t think that this should be an issue of debate, it’s really not a problem,” he said.

“We often shorten names, just like Aussie or ‘sanga’ for sandwich or ‘cuppa’ for cup of tea.”

So perhaps ‘mussie’ is not a big issue.  At school us ‘wogs’ called each other ‘wogs’ all the time.  Perhaps McGuire thought that as he knew John Eren he could make this comment.  But while everybody seems to concentrate of the word ‘mussie’ it is the context in which McGuire said it which I find it interesting.

This is exposed in something McGuire said:

“The quote that I said, because I referred (in) this to the Minister himself, is as a ‘soccer loving Turkish born Mussie’ to emphasise the point that no longer do we have an Anglo Saxon former AFL footballer as the sports minister,”

This was said in the AFL General Meeting.  What did Eddie wanted to say with that statement?  One thing is if you are in a joking mode.   In January this year McGuire he ‘roasted’ Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour during a post race function after the KPMG Couta Boat sailing regatta at Sorrento.  “You’ve got to love Australia, when all the Muslims are delivering the postage and parcels.”  Funny? It depends. But a “roast” is meant to be light hearted and give a bit of a stir to the person being roasted.  I don’t think this is what is meant to happen at general meetings of major organisations.

What McGuire was saying is that the Sport minister in Victoria is not ‘one of us’  That he is foreign and supports a foreign code, and this may have implications for the AFL where they can’t rely on an “Anglo Saxon former AFL footballer” to ensure that Australian Rules football will receive preferential treatment as they perhaps could have relied in the past.

Of course this is nonsense.  John Erin is a keen Geelong supporter (and I guess member) and like many of us who are from Non English Speaking Background has no problems in following Australian Rules and Association Football.

Eddie McGuire has shown this irrational fear of soccer before, but more importantly it has exposed his belief that soccer is a foreign game.  He could as well called it wogball..of course in jest.



1 Comment

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One response to “Eddie’s comment betrays more than ‘just a joke’

  1. Paul

    This may actually be what Eddie is scared about – http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/worldclass-soccer-right-here-at-north-geelong-soccer-club/story-fnjuhs0b-1226956275326 – that as the Member for Lara and then-shadow sports minister John Eren was more than happy to get behind North Geelong Warriors and even link them to a possible future A-League club. The setting up of an A-League club in Victoria’s second city would send shockwaves through the AFL world (though if they were really worried about the loyalties of Geelong sports fans wouldn’t they do more to ensure the Cats played more home games at Kardinia Park?).

    As president of the AFL’s largest club in addition to his media work of which a large part is derived from the AFL, Eddie is right to be concerned that such an individual is now Minister for Sport in the AFL’s home state. The AFL is a business and it’s only responsible that they show concern for their market share. However, Eddie could have expressed this concern without referencing John Eren’s religion and country of birth. His comments were always likely to be released – whenever you say anything to another person, there’s always a likelihood that your words will be passed on.

    As a Collingwood supporter as well as a supporter of Melbourne Victory, the Socceroos and football in general (I live in Townsville and had a season ticket with Northern Fury in the NPLQ), I do wish though that Eddie would focus more of his attention on Collingwood and why the on-field performances have deteriorated in the second half of the season three years in a row than Adam Goodes or the ethnic and religious background of the Minister for Sport.

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