Michael Slater axed by Channel 7, breaks silence on Scott Morrison scandal

Michael Slater has broken his silence to deny a rumour following his axing from Channel 7.

It emerged last week Slater had been let go by the network just months out from the start of the 2021-22 Ashes series.

It was reported Slater’s infamous public challenging of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this year at least partly contributed to his exit.

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Slater has served on Channel 7’s commentary team since the free-to-air broadcaster secured the cricket rights in 2018, but network executives said budgetary reasons resulted in Slater failing to have his contract extended, as first revealed by The Daily Telegraph.

Slater has now said publicly he suspects his comments about Morrison “could have had a link” to his departure from Seven.

The 50-year-old said in May, Morrison had “blood on his hands” over the border restrictions that blocked Australians from returning from India at the time.

The Nine commentary as it was in January 2018: Michael Clarke, Ian Healy, Ian Chappell, Mark Nicholas, Bill Lawry, Michael Slater, Mark Taylor, Shane Warne PICTURES INSTAGRAM.Source: Instagram

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Slater has now rejected rumours his behaviour away from the spotlight contributed to his sacking.

The rumours include a physical altercation with David Warner — something denied by both parties — while they stayed in the Maldives awaiting clearance to return to Australia in May.

In 2019, Slater was also removed from a flight following claims of a heated argument with airline staff.

Slater says he now regrets his comments about Morrison, but says he won’t apologise to Morrison.

“I didn’t want to be disrespectful,” he said of his public attack.

“I was highly emotional and people know I handle things differently.

“I was feeling completely overwhelmed.

“If I had my time again, bearing in mind it could have had a link to what’s just happened to me at Channel 7, no I wouldn’t do it again.”

Ricky Ponting and Michael Slater, two of the stars of Channel 7’s commentary team. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Back in May, Slater unloaded on the Prime Minister following the Australian government’s decision to block citizens from returning home from India.

Slater tweeted at the time: “If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!

“Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system.

“I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect.

“And for those who think this is a money exercise. Well forget it. This is what I do for a living and I have not made a penny having left early. So please stop the abuse and think of the thousands dying in India each day. It’s called empathy. If only our government had some!”

The controversial outburst reportedly did not sit comfortably with fellow cricketers or Channel 7 executives at the time.

Michael Slater speaks with Indian captain Virat Kohli. Photo by Stu Forster-ICC/ICC via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Morrison responded by saying it was “absurd” for Slater to accuse him of having “blood” on his hands.

Slater played 74 Tests and 42 one-day internationals for Australia, scoring 6299 runs and 14 centuries.

Before joining Channel 7’s team three years ago, Slater worked alongside Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry as part of the Channel 9 commentary team.