Holden are reviewing their lucrative Collingwood sponsorship, adding a critical new element to the controversy involving prominent AFL figures Eddie McGuire and Caroline Wilson.
The carmaker revealed on Monday night that it had sought a meeting with the Magpies to discuss the issue involving their president.
The deal, understood to be worth $3 million per year, includes naming rights for Collingwood’s administration and training headquarters near the MCG.
“Holden is engaging with Collingwood to directly express our disappointment and discuss the future of our sponsorship,” the company posted on its official Twitter account.
While the original controversy also involved North Melbourne president James Brayshaw and fellow AFL commentator Danny Frawley, McGuire is at the centre of the storm.
McGuire issued a video statement through the Colllingwood website on Monday evening, apologising unreservedly to Wilson.
“In the last 24 hours and particularly (Monday) morning, I’ve seen the impact of the comments on (Caroline),” McGuire said of the respected sports journalist.
“No person should ever feel uneasy or threatened in football’s family and for that I am deeply sorry and I apologise unreservedly to Caroline for putting her in that position.”
McGuire’s comments earlier on Monday about the controversy were dismissed widely as being insincere.
Wilson was the subject of an on-air conversation involving McGuire, Brayshaw and Frawley during Triple M’s coverage of the June 13 Melbourne-Collingwood Queens Birthday match.
Before the game, McGuire was among celebrities who had slid into a tub of icy water for the second Freeze MND fundraiser.
McGuire said as a joke that Wilson should be the only person to slide into the water for next year’s promotion and added he would pledge $50,000 if she was held under.
McGuire also went on to describe her as “like a black widow”.
Brayshaw said he would pledge money in response to McGuire’s comments, while Frawley said: ‘I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t (surface) – I’ll hold her under”.
Brayshaw and Frawley have apologised for their parts in the conversation.
It took six days for the radio exchange to come to wider media attention.
While the comments were said in jest, once they came to light they were condemned widely.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan issued a lengthy statement blasted the comments, but stopped short of sanctioning McGuire, despite having broad powers to do so.
Wilson was upset by the original comments, saying there was venom in them, but said he accepted the apologies.
“He (McGuire) has definitely changed his tune – he’s had a few cracks at it and he’s finally got there,” she told Channel Nine’s Footy Classified.
“To his credit, what he said (on Monday night) was absolutely acceptable and I really appreciate he’s done it.”