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30 Mar, 2019 11:08

'It can't be that hard, can it?': Aussie commentator slammed for mocking amputee during coin toss

'It can't be that hard, can it?': Aussie commentator slammed for mocking amputee during coin toss

Australian commentator Eddie Maguire has apologized after on-air comments mocking an amputee's attempts to conduct a pre-match coin toss drew widespread criticism.

Maguire's comments came during a televised AFL game between the Sydney Swans and the Adelaide Crows, when Swans ambassador Cynthia Banham appeared in the center circle to take part in the ceremonial tossing of the coin ahead of the match.

Banham, an academic and journalist who lost both her legs in a plane crash in Indonesia in 2007, struggled to perform the ceremony while supporting herself using a walking stick.

While Banham struggled to toss the coin, Maguire made fun of her in the commentary box, suggesting she should have practised before making her appearance on the pitch.

"I think we should introduce a $5,000 fine to anybody who's tossing the coin and can't do it properly," he joked.

"Every week, we have someone dropping it on their foot. Come on! Toss it up properly, for goodness sake!

"Practise in the week, you know you're going to do it. It can't be that hard can it, guys?"

The comments prompted laughter in the Fox Footy commentary box, but drew a notably different response elsewhere.

The Swans issued a statement, slamming Maguire's mocking words, saying: "The comments show not only a lack of empathy, but also ignorance.

"The Sydney Swans are incredibly disappointed by inappropriate comments made tonight by Eddie McGuire."

Fox Footy's parent company Fox Sports apologized for the comments, calling them "disappointing," and withdrawing Maguire from his commentary duties for a game on Saturday.

Maguire also made an on-air apology and later issued a statement withdrawing himself from commentary duties on Saturday.

"Out of respect for Cynthia Banham and the Sydney Swans, I have requested not to call today's game between Essendon and St. Kilda.

"I am deeply sorry and regretful for the comments I made last night about the coin tossing system.

"I should never have spoken without properly viewing the footage.

"I unreservedly apologize to Cynthia, her family and the Sydney Football Club for the pain and hurt that my comments have caused."