Nine apologises to Cameron Smith over Alex McKinnon 60 Minutes interview

The Nine Network has apologised to Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith for failing to seek right of reply and intimating a lack of concern about a tackle which left fellow player Alex McKinnon paralysed.

NRL rights holder Nine’s apology to Smith, who is about to captain Queensland in the State of Origin, comes after a 12-month boycott of the TV network, following a controversial 60 Minutes episode in which McKinnon suggested that Smith’s behaviour following the incident showed indifference to his plight by arguing with the referee as he lay on the ground.

Smith rejected these claims vigorously and has since made up with McKinnon.

Appearing on the Footy Show, host Paul Vautin told Smith: “Before we get started, we know it’s been a difficult relationship between Channel Nine and yourself over the past 12 months,” Vautin said, at the start of the program.

“With regards to those issues, on behalf of the Nine Network we want to apologise to you and your family.”

Smith’s refusal to speak with the TV Network has been an ongoing embarrassment for Nine, with the apology coming just a week before the first State of Origin match.

“It has been a difficult 12 months and I just want to thank you for that apology on behalf of the network,” Smith said.

“It’s no secret I was pretty disappointed with the 60 Minutes episode that aired last year – and everything that happened afterwards, too.”

The Daily Telegraph, in an editorial piece published last year, described 60 Minutes’ failure to approach Smith as: “one of the most irresponsible pieces of journalism ever to have aired on the 60 Minutes program and has left two men shattered, two families devastated and both unnecessarily defending themselves in the light of a dreadful human tragedy.”

Nine’s flagship current affairs program 60 Minutes has recently been under pressure over its handling of a story involving the children of Australian mother Sally Faulkner. 

The TV network was caught out having paid for a “child recovery” operation in Lebanon, which saw its journalist and TV crew narrowly avoid charges of kidnapping.


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