At a glance:

  • St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis has rubbished "distateful" comments suggesting Nicky Winmar's iconic stand in 1993 was not about race.
  • Statements made on the 'You Cannot Be Serious' podcast said the action was in reference to St Kilda's "gutsy" performance and has since been "misconstrued" over the years.
  • St Kilda is proud to stand alongside Winmar and be associated with one of the most significant moments in Australian sporting history.

St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis has rubbished suggestions Nicky Winmar’s iconic stand against racism in 1993 carried a vastly different meaning.

Comments made by Don Scott, Sam Newman and Mike Sheahan on their podcast, You Cannot Be Serious, insinuated Winmar’s gesture was referring to St Kilda’s “gutsy” victory over the Magpies that day, rather than in response to the racist vitriol he and Gilbert McAdam were subject to.

The moment has supposedly been “misconstrued” over the subsequent years, and since “morphed” into a political tool for activists.

Speaking on 3AW, Finnis strongly rebuffed the “distasteful” statements made and said St Kilda was proud to stand alongside Winmar.

“I don’t think Nicky was the only one who was stunned,” Finnis said.

Certainly our view [as a club] is that we’re proud to be associated with what I think is one of the most impactful moments when it comes to talking about racism and sport in this country.

- Matt Finnis

“Nicky is a very proud indigenous man, I know he was very upset by those comments which I think were at best insensitive, at worst mean-spirited.

“I think it’s been appropriate the response that’s come from wide and far to denounce that kind of commentary.”

At the final siren following the Saints’ emotional triumph in 1993, Winmar faced the crowd, raised his jumper and pointed to the colour of his skin, declaring “I’m black and I’m proud to be black”.

The St Kilda Team of the Century inductee’s stand went down as one of Australian sport’s most enduring and defining moments; its significance to a nation and a people unparalleled.

The moment was captured by photographer Wayne Ludbey, and last year was immortalised in bronze to reside proudly outside Optus Stadium.

Almost 30 years later, Winmar’s stand continues to bear just as much weight as it did that infamous day at Victoria Park.

Healing the wounds: Winmar and McAdam make their way up the same race at Victoria Park 20 years on.

Venomous comments and racial suggestions on social media directed towards indigenous players Eddie Betts and Neville Jetta this past week alone have been met strongly from the AFL community.

“I think anyone can see in recent times that we continue to deal with the scourge of racism, not just in Australia, but globally,” Finnis said.

“We’ve also seen – whether it’s Eddie Betts telling his story or Nicky in recent times – that our indigenous Australians continue to be emotionally impacted by the history and then these ongoing incidences.

I don’t know where this sort of idea to try and rewrite history comes from.  I find it quite distasteful.

- Matt Finnis

“I think it’s unfounded and I think it’s been quite hurtful.”

Alongside Winmar, St Kilda announced its Reconciliation Action Plan last season, which serves as an extension of the club’s commitment to contribute to Australia’s reconciliation journey through acknowledging, respecting and sharing the histories and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.