A Thousand Flowers can now exclusively reveal that the most coveted award of the week goes to…our new World Heavyweight Champion and even more Heavyweight Wanker, Tyson Fury.
The ongoing furore over his nomination for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award will hang over tonight’s festivities like some kind of monstrous bearded manbaby. Fury has all the personality you might expect from someone who punches people in the face for a living, which would be totally fine if he hadn’t taken it upon himself to discuss matters other than punching people in the face.
Fury has made numerous threats against the journalist who published details of an interview in which the boxer said,
There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one’s paedophilia. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?
Fury first denied giving the quote to journalist Oliver Holt (despite it being recoorded), then said the interviewer had taken his words out of context (despite the before and after sections also being an unprovoked misogynistic, homophobic rant), before finally settling for threatening to send “Big Shane” to “break his jaw.”
Despite his efforts to engage in damage limitation, like kissing a man (no really), the boxer doesn’t seem to be able to stop talking shit, with more details of his roasterishness surfacing almost daily. In another recent interview, when discussing the role of women in sport, he said:
Women in boxing, I think they’re very nice when they’re walking around that ring, holding them cards. So I think women in boxing is very good. I’m all for. I’m not sexist. I believe a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That’s my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe.
He then stated his fellow nominee, Olympic and world heptathlon champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill “slaps up good” and following Greg Rutherford condemning Fury’s comments and saying he had initially considered dropping out of the ceremony, Fury took to Twitter, where he dared to imply that no-one knows who Greg Rutherford is – which I can confirm is both a false and defamatory suggestion.
His defence that he’s not homophobic would be mildly more plausible had he not previously been sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control for a barrage of homophobic abuse he directed at boxer David Price. His claim that “I don’t hate anyone” is somewhat contrasted with one of his tweets which read, “dont like gays shoul all b shot dead.” His attempt to take credit for “uniting the world” looks even more dubious, since he’s been stripped of one of his world titles by the International Boxing Federation.
Nearly 140,000 people signed a petition calling for the BBC to drop Fury from the awards and the Beeb were forced to deny rumours they intervened to ensure Fury was included, with the shortlist being extended from 10 to 12 after the boxer’s world title fight. The Corporation are trying really hard to make out that the Sports PERSONALITY of the year award doesn’t have anything to do with someone’s personality, previous winners do include Andy Murray…but that defence only goes so far.
The award explicitly recognises “‘impact’ over and beyond the sport and sporting achievement in question” and we can’t pretend misogyny and homophobia, inside and outside of sport, don’t have an impact on people. The BBC seems keen to remain “impartial” by trying to silence their gay employees, while defending their decision to shortlist Fury. Reporter Andy West challenged his employer for promoting a bigot in a Facebook post, writing,
My employer is hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile and who believes homosexual people are helping to bring about the end of the world.
It’s tempting to see him for the laughable idiot he is but sadly there are many other idiots who will be inspired and encouraged by his naive, juvenile bigotry.
I am ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake.
West has been suspended by BBC Northern Ireland, making clear that those speaking out against homophobia can expect to be sanctioned. Beyond their disgraceful treatment of their own employees, giving prominence to Fury has a broader impact. Lack of LGBTI+ participation in sport contributes to the health inequalities which result in our communities living shorter, less healthy lives; this is about more than whether punching someone is more commendable than kicking a ball.
Our smugness at Commonwealth kisses and the furore over gay rights at the Sochi Games just last year have melted away – we’re back to having a debate about the acceptability of homophobia and misogyny. Fury may be free to express his views but a publicly funded broadcaster is also free to not suggest he should be given a prize for it. Giving this total scunner an award for his personality, rather than chipping in for a personality transplant, seems like an act of unpardonable unkindness….unless that award is the Weekly Wanker.