AFL star’s ‘infuriated’ wife hits back at veteran journalist who accused her husband of being part of a ‘pathetic boys’ club’ for his pregnancy joke
- Uproar about on-air comments during Channel Seven’s AFL finals coverage
- Commentator and former AFL star Xavier Ellis made joke about pregnant wife
- Caroline Wilson slammed network over the ‘rubbish’ and ‘pathetic’ exchange
- Ellis says his wife is ‘infuriated’ over the backlash he copped from Wilson
An AFL commentator who sparked outrage with an on-air joke about his heavily pregnant wife says she’s furious at suggestions he’s part of a ‘boys’ club’ at Channel Seven.
Former AFL premiership star Xavier Ellis was commentating during Saturday night’s elimination final where he joked live on air he’ll be busy watching the races while his wife Emily gives birth to their second child on Derby Day later this month.
The joke didn’t go down well with Channel Nine journalist Caroline Wilson, who said it was a ‘pathetic’ line and described the rival network’s AFL commentary team as a boys’ club.
Ellis addressed the saga on his The Hard Ball Gets AFL Show podcast on Tuesday, on which he apologised for any offence caused and said his wife is ‘infuriated’ over the backlash he has copped over what was supposed to be a light-hearted moment.
AFL commentator Xavier Ellis revealed his wife Emily (pictured together) was ‘infuriated’ at suggestions he was part of a ‘boys’ club’ at Channel Seven
The joke was made between quarters of the West Coast-Collingwood elimination final on Saturday, in a discussion between the studio and the boundary-side commentators.
‘Isn’t your much, much, much better half expecting?’ Channel Seven presenter James Brayshaw asked Ellis.
Ellis replied: ‘Yes, at the end of the month. I’ve scheduled that in for Derby Day, so I’ll be watching the races while she gets to work.’
Ellis, from Perth, was shocked when podcast co-host Dylan Buckley told him the joke has made national headlines since being the subject of the brutal Caro’s Arrow’ segment aired on Monday night.
He admitted his joke was a poor attempt at humour and again apologised for any offence caused.
‘I got hit fairly hard with the arrow, straight between the eyes,’ Ellis told podcast listeners on Tuesday.
‘I actually felt sick as I was more worried I may have offended my wife, who I care about the most. But she was infuriated by the topic and the suggestion that I’m part of a boys’ club and the misogynist angle.’
‘The people I care about have supportive. If I had my time again, I wouldn’t have said it or worded it differently. We had just come out of hospital that day as well.
‘It’s one of those ones where you live and you learn.’
Ellis is pictured his wife Emily moments after the birth of their first child in 2018 after a 24 hour labour. Ellis uploaded the throwback snap to Instagram on Wednesday
Shortly after Wilson’s segment aired on Monday, Ellis hit back on Twitter to explain the context of his joke.
His wife Emily is booked in a caesarian on Derby Day, two years after a 24-hour labour with their first child Theodore.
Ellis spent some of that time watching the races while his partner slept.
‘I can say the relationship I have with my wonderful wife is a jovial one and after our first birth went for 24 hours , the context of the races is what I’ll be doing if it’s another 24 hour birth,’ he told podcast listeners on Tuesday.
He also acknowledged the flood of support he’s received from the public before ending discussion on the saga on a light-hearted note.
‘Hopefully there’s a story breaking tomorrow,’ he said before jokingly asking his co-host if he could get arrested.
Buckley, who’s in lockdown in Melbourne replied: ‘I only walk outside to get arrested.’
Ellis (pictured right on Saturday night) was criticised for making an on-air joke about his heavily pregnant wife Emily
Caroline Wilson (pictured) labelled Ellis’ on-air joke as rubbish and pathetic
Ellis has since posted a heartwarming photo of he and Emily moments after their son was born.
‘Two years ago this was the best day of my life. I look forward to mirroring the moment in two weeks time. Only winner I’ll be picking this derby day,’ he captioned the photo.
Wilson began Monday night’s segment praising the rival network for their coverage during a turbulent season disrupted by COVID-19.
‘Channel Seven and their footy coverage has been our friend all season. They haven’t been perfect, but then, who has? Certainly not me, and they’ve made the best of a bad situation,’ Wilson said.
‘To be fair, most of the best and biggest moments were given their due.’
‘How is it in a network where Daisy Pearce has become one of the best special commentators in the country, and the face of footy news is Jacqui Felgate, that we have to put up with rubbish like this?
‘Enough of the boys club, lads … it was pathetic.’
Wilson ended her rant with a firm warning to her fellow co-hosts, who also appear on the light-hearted Sunday Footy Show on Nine.
‘And Matthew (Lloyd), I’ve got my eye on your show on a Sunday — and you too Kane (Cornes) — so you won’t be getting off lightly if you come up with that sort of stuff,’ she warned.
Wilson’s comments’ sparked a response from Ellis, who apologised for any offence while providing context to his controversial comments.
Xavier Ellis (pictured with wife Emily) has apologised for his comments on Saturday night
‘I want to apologise if anyone found the comments I made on Saturday night offensive. Obviously it wasn’t my intention; maybe just a poor attempt at some poor humour,’ Ellis explained in a video posted on late Monday night.
‘Em’s (first) labour went for 24 hours last time, and while she slept, I did indeed watch the races to pass the time. And this year, her caesarean is scheduled for Derby Day.
‘So there’s the connection. Maybe it was just a poor attempt at some humour, and I do apologise if someone was offended, and I can guarantee that Emily isn’t.
‘We’re just both excited to welcome number two into the world.’
Ellis was flooded with messages of support from fans who insisted he didn’t have to apologise.
Former AFL star Xavier Ellis and his wife Emily (pictured) will soon welcome their second child
‘I’m really concerned for the world if a simple comment that is clearly a joke, which is also clearly an inside joke between you and your wife is deemed offensive by someone completely outside of the situation. Not sure how Caro is offended by this,’ one fan commented.
Another added: ‘But it’s your life…and your partners life…so pretty sure you’re allowed to joke about it if you’re both OK with it! Appreciate you trying to straighten it out mate but you have nothing to apologise for. We need more laughs in the world right now not less.’
Other dads shared their own sports watching moments while their partner was in labour.
‘Don’t listen to her rubbish..I watched day 3 of the Boxing Day text in 09 while the wife had our son..no issues from her so play on,’ one commented.
Ellis played 120 AFL games, which included a premiership with Hawthorn in 2008.
He announced his retirement in early 2016 due to injury after two season stint with West Coast.
Xavier Ellis was inundated with support after he responded to Wilson’s comments on Monday