Andy Murray wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 – as it happened! – The Guardian
Hello, and welcome to a Sports Personality of the Year award show with a difference. One nominee has generated column miles for reasons unrelated to sport. Hint: it’s not Adam Peaty. Opinions are a bit like SPOTY nominations – everyone’s got one. So for what it’s worth, here’s mine.
Tyson Fury achieved something remarkable in his sport this year, and his addition to the shortlist was no great surprise. The comments he has made, and the growing cloud of opprobrium that has been kicked up, have made SPOTY headline news for the first time since the days of Henry Cooper. It has also left the BBC with a name on their own shortlist that they would probably prefer didn’t win.
There are two schools of thought that suggest Fury finishing on any step of the podium is not a problem. First, there’s a misguided, reactionary view that the boxer winning would be one in the eye for political correctness. Then there’s the notion, trotted out by the BBC itself, that the award is for nothing but sporting prowess.
To tackle the second point first, it’s called the Sports Personality of the Year, and viewers can’t go from decrying 2014 winner Lewis Hamilton as too boring, to then neglecting Fury’s views. Spoty is a primetime, family show, and in a year where a same-sex couple were reportedly considered too out there for Strictly, it would be regrettable to see someone who has expressed views that could be considered homophobic lifting the trophy. Besides, nobody can argue that this particular debate, whatever your view, is purely about sport any more.
Leaving Fury on the list was probably the right course of action once the decision had been made, but it has led to an unseemly state of affairs. Fellow nominee Greg Rutherford had to be talked into taking part, presenter Gabby Logan has reservations about Fury winning, while Jessica Ennis-Hill, an extraordinary athlete by any measure, may have to share the spotlight with a man who says she “slaps up good as well”.
Fury’s words, which appear to compare abortion and homosexuality with paedophilia, and in which he says a woman’s “best place is in the kitchen and on her back”, are not just off-colour. In my humble opinion, they are destructive, outdated, even dangerous. Fury has the right to say them, and the vast majority of us have the right to be appalled. Landing a top three finish may only fuel his apparent lack of self-reflection. For that reason, I for one hope it doesn’t happen.
Anyway, there are 11 other contenders, so let’s move on for now. More on all the nominees through the proceedings, and a healthy dose of vaguely familiar athletes in suits, and Sue Barker walking us through the year in bowls. Some things never change.
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