Just moments after France’s Marion Bartoli defeated Germany’s Sabine Lisicki to win the 2013 Ladies Championship at Wimbledon, a controversy broke out. It had nothing to do with Bartoli’s dominating win, but what BBC broadcaster, John Inverdale said about the newly minted champions looks.
According to the The Telegraph after Bartoli defeated Sabine Lisicki in Saturday’s final John Inverdale asked listeners on BBC Radio:Here is the audio clip in question from the BBC coverage.
“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, and ‘You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.’
As you might imagine social media blew up and the BBC was put on the defensive for Inverdale’s remarks. Here are some of the twitter feedback on Inverdale’s post match comments from The Telegraph .
The BBC was quick to issue an apology:” We accept that this remark was insensitive and for that we apologize,” the network stated.
But now the tennis community and London newspapers were after the BBC big time.
Tanya Gold, a columnist of The Guardian was brilliant in her column on Inverdale’s comments. Here is a sample of what she wrote, but I encourage you to read her entire column.
Even at this moment of exquisite delight, was Daddy ashamed of Marion's inability to incite lust in Inverdale? I did not know professional women's tennis was simply a vehicle for the expression of masculine desire in high temperatures; or that Inverdale had a right to feel aggrieved by Bartoli's appearance – which is, by the way, perfectly acceptable. (She is, if it matters, and it doesn't, pretty; but who is pretty enough in these days of dull homogenous beauty?) I do not wish that Murray had received the same grotesque treatment; but that he did not is remarkable.
The BBC reported 674 complaints over Inverdale's comments about Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli's personal appearance. The network seems to feel that Inverdale has made amends by doing an apology on air as well as writing to Bartoli personally.
It is hard to believe that here in the United States that we have higher standards than the BBC. The British based network has been for many years the “Gold Standard,” by which all other networks are measured.
Here in the colonies we have a long list of broadcasters who have made gaffs that were fired within hours of their mistakes. I am surprised that a network as respected as the BBC seems to be standing by Inverdale.
Here is a list of some of the biggest names in broadcasting here in the U.S. that were cut loose by their their networks.
Let's start with CBS golf broadcaster Ben Wright who was fired in 1996 for his comments about lesbianism on the LPGA Tour. The comments came not on air but earlier in the week when Wright was talking to a reporter from The News Journal the week of the LPGA Championship.
Very high profile broadcasters like CBS Jimmy "The Greek," Snyder (1988) and Rush Limbaugh (2003) proved that no matter how big a star you are, if you say the wrong thing while representing the network on or off camera you could be gone. Limbaugh got the ax from ESPN NFL Countdown show after he made some controversial comments about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Snyder was fired, for comments he made to a Washington, D.C. television station saying that”Blacks were bred tobe better atheletes than whites."
Lest you think it is only men get fired by networks in this country, you would indeed be wrong.Recently, Comcast SportsNet Chicago's, Susannah Collins was fired for a slip of the tongue when she said the word sex instead of success- seen in the following clip.
One has to wonder if Inverdale worked for ESPN would he still have a job today? My guess is that he would not.