Mundine’s apology for ‘pretty dumb’ claim
Australian sporting great Anthony Mundine has apologised for controversial remarks on the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he claimed America "brought it upon themselves".
Officially farewelling his sporting career at the Cruise Bar in Sydney's Circular Quay on Wednesday, Mundine spoke openly about the highs and lows of his time in the spotlight.
He was a two-sport sensation who sparkled in a short-lived rugby league career before winning world titles in boxing.
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But after converting to Islam in the late 1990s, Mundine faced a tsunami of backlash for infamous remarks about the September 11 attacks.
"They call it an act of terrorism, but if you can understand religion, and our way of life, it's not about terrorism," Mundine said in October 2001.
"It's about fighting for God's law, and America's brought it upon themselves."
Drawing attention to comments on Wednesday, Mundine said: "A lot of the media portrayed me to be for the killings. I want to put that on record, that there was no way for the killings.
"Taking one human life is like taking the whole of humanity to me. I feel like I was crucified for that - probably rightly so. I said it raw and pretty dumb at the time.
"If I offended anybody in my career, honestly, I'm sincerely sorry.
"Please find it in your heart to forgive me. I'm a changed man, I'm a different type of cat.
"As you get older, you get more mellow. God bless everybody. Thank you."
Mundine's impact on the sporting world was highlighted when surfing legend Kelly Slater called in the middle of Wednesday's retirement press conference.
The 45-year-old was interrupted by a video call from the 11-time world champion.
"Hey bra," Mundine said, after being handed a mobile phone. "It's Kelly Slater, bra."
Mundine was quick to joke about a third sporting endeavour.
"Teach me how to surf," he told Slater. "I might become a surfer."
Slater laughed, saying: "Well yeah, I think you need a third career, you've been able to switch over pretty easily in the past.
"Anyways, we're just proud of you. I just wanted to call and say congratulations and all the best for the next endeavour and all the happiness to you and your family. You're a legend."
Australian sporting icons Matty Johns, Stan Grant, Lawrie Daley, Gorden Tallis, Justin Langer and Michael O'Loughlin also paid tribute to Mundine at the media call.
Mundine announced his retirement after losing to fellow Australian Michael Zerafa via first-round knockout earlier this month.
He hangs up his gloves with a career record of 48-11, including 28 KOs.
Mundine also played 134 NRL games, in which he scored 59 tries. He represented New South Wales in the 1999 State of Origin series and the NRL Grand Final with the Dragons that same year.
Originally published as Mundine's apology for 'pretty dumb' claim