The racism crisis engulfing Melbourne Demons deepened after their major sponsor admitted to making a series of slurs against Aborigines, Asians, women and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Entrepreneur Ben Polis – CEO and co-owner of EnergyWatch, which gives the football club an estimated $2 million a year – admitted that he made dozens of offensive remarks on Facebook.
Mr Polis sledged the Melbourne indigenous player, Liam Jurrah, claiming his arrest last month over a machete attack was good because it generated publicity for EnergyWatch.
He then wrote that when Jurrah “came to the Dees they thought he had tribal tats but it was ring worm. He had never been to a doctor in his life, he comes from out back bit past Carrum Downs”.
The Melbourne board held a crisis meeting on Wednesday night to decide the future of the sponsorship.
“The club is extremely concerned with these allegations. We have commenced a full investigation,” the board said.
Mr Polis, who is also the major sponsor of Melbourne Victory, claimed the statements were private “jokes” and said he could not be a racist because he had once dated a “half-Aboriginal” woman.
“Do I have any beef with Aboriginals? No I don’t. If you get on to my Facebook I make comments about every single race.”
The AFL said Mr Polis’s remarks were a matter for the Demons.
The latest drama at the Demons comes after it emerged senior official Jason Mifsud helped spread an explosive race-related claim about Melbourne coach Mark Neeld.
Melbourne, thrashed by Brisbane Lions in round one, travel to Perth to play West Coast on Saturday.
Buford Balony says: Typical AFL, they like to act all high and mighty but in reality they are a bunch of hypocrites.