3AW radio announcer John Burns has been delivered a somewhat confusing apology after he was outed as the man at the centre of vilification claims involving Richmond midfielder Bachar Houli.
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Burns is alleged to have referred to Houli as a “terrorist” during the Tigers’ 32-point loss to Melbourne on Friday at the MCG.
On Monday morning, Burns said he could not remember recall making such a comment, but apologised “unreservedly” if, in fact, he did.
“I had the pleasure of attending the Richmond Football Club function on Friday night. During the match, I sat with a friend and we were catching up and talking about the game. It has been suggested to me that during a conversation with my friend, I was overheard saying something which that person found offensive,” Burns said in a 3AW statement.
“I have no recollection of making an offensive remark.
“However, I acknowledge that a complaint has been made and the idea that something I’ve said has offended someone is mortifying to me.
“If I have said anything that has offended anybody, I unreservedly apologise. In particular, to the people at the match and the Richmond Football Club.”
However on Tuesday morning Burns delivered a somewhat confusing ‘apology’ on 3AW, saying he was sorry for “what he did” but stopped short of admitting he made the comment.
“I spoke privately with the person who heard the comment yesterday and apologised for upsetting him. He accepted that and he said he hopes to see me at the next Melbourne-Richmond game and hopes the result will be different,” he is quoted as saying by Fairfax Media.
“I’ve spoken to the Richmond football club, they’ve accepted my apology for what I did and there’s not a great deal more I want to add except that it’s very, very upsetting for me and my family and I’m sorry to put you in an embarrassing situation Ross.
“I hope I haven’t disappointed any of our listeners, because I love working on the program, it’s a privilege to work with you and to talk to the listeners everyday and I hope that puts an end to it.”
Richmond released its own statement on Monday, saying it believed its own employee’s version of events but considered the matter to now be closed.
“Richmond Football Club acknowledges the statement released by 3AW’s John Burns this afternoon in relation to an incident that took place at the MCG on Friday night,” the statement read.
“The club fully supports the staff member who brought this issue to its attention and accepts his version of events. We also accept the apology and now consider the matter closed.”
Houli, 26, became the first devout Muslim to play in the AFL after he was drafted by Essendon in 2006.
The midfielder works for the AFL as a multicultural ambassador.