Eric Bristow has been sacked by Sky Sports after controversial comments he made on social media regarding the victims of football’s sex abuse scandal. The five-time world champion, who was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 1989, sparked outrage with a host of outspoken comments on his twitter account on Monday evening.
The football sex abuse scandal has rocked the world of sport over recent weeks, with a number of ex-professionals coming forward to reveal they were one of the child abuse victims of convincted paedophile Barry Bennell, who has been jailed on three occasions on child abuse charges.
Former Crewe Alexandra forward Andy Woodward waived his anonymity and revealed he was one of Bennell’s victims and since then, a further 20 footballers have come forward admitting they were abused by football coaches earlier in their career.
Police forces are investigating the claims, whilst the Football Association have also launched an internal investigation to analyse how the matters have been dealt with over the past 30 years. The victims have been praised for their courage and bravery in speaking out, although Bristow didn’t share the same sentiments.
Bristow accused footballers of being ‘wimps’, and tweeted: “Darts players tough guys; footballers wimps.” He then joked: “I bet the rugby boys are ok ha ha.”
The 59-year-old also wrote: “Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when I was a kid, as I got older I would have went back and sorted that poof out. U got to sought him out when you get older or don’t look in the mirror; glad I am a dart player proper men.”
The five-time world champion then tweeted: “Everybody that works on TV is frightened to say the truth because they are frightened to lose their job, life shouldn’t be like that. What I was saying was when the football lads got older and fitter they should have went back and sorted him out. U people replying don’t twist what I sent out; I tell the truth if u don’t like it tough.”
However, Bristow received fierce backlash for his comments, particularly his reference to the child abuse victims as ‘wimps’, as well as conflating paedophilia with an offensive homosexual slur. Yet, he later retracted one of his earlier comments, tweeting: “Sorry meant paedo not poof.”
Bristow was Sky Sports’ chief spotter along with 1983 world champion Keith Deller, although ‘The Crafty Cockney’ also enjoyed stints as a pundit and commentator and was expected to feature in Sky Sports’ coverage of next month’s World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace.
Nevertheless, a Sky Sports spokesman released a statement early on Tuesday morning, confirming Bristow’s departure: “He was a contributor to our darts coverage in the past but we will not be using him in the future.”