Causing offence: The curse of the open mic

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Howls of outrage greeted the latest on-air clanger last week, committed by a former England rugby coach. "You've always got to have a coloured boy in the team," said Dick Best when asked why he would pick Delon Armitage ahead of Irish winger Tommy Boyle in a British Lions line-up.

Sky News, which aired the interview, apologised on Best's behalf, saying he thought he was off camera.

Anti-racism campaigners were soon lining up to take a punt at the hapless coach. Best has so far remained unrepentant, even claiming he did not make any remarks about Delon Armitage. He is not the first to be caught foot in mouth on air.

Ron Atkinson

The football pundit's media career came to an abrupt halt in 2004 and he was forced to resign from ITV when he described footballer Marcel Desailly as "what is known, in some schools, as a lazy, thick nigger".

Carol Thatcher

The journalist displayed a shaky grasp of modern values last February when she referred to the French-Congolese tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as a "golliwog" during a backstage discussion at the BBC.

Sarah Kennedy

The Radio 2 presenter interrupted a discussion on road safety on her show last year to say she had almost run over a black man because his dark clothes rendered him invisible, and his yawning saved him from death.

Kelly Tilghman

The television sports presenter showed her aptitude for race relations during a US golf tournament in January by saying the only way to beat Tiger Woods would be if players "lynched him in a back alley".

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