Did people complain because of what Inverdale said, or because of the fuss about what he said?

What Inverdale was expressing was the sort of sentiment that millions of otherwise right-thinking men watching Wimbledon may have shared

Share
Related Topics

I would be interested to know exactly what punishment Maria Miller thinks is appropriate for John Inverdale? Dismissal? Suspension? Rendition? Being forced to listen to an audio recording of Maria Sharapova playing a three-setter?

The culture secretary has just written to the BBC demanding to know whether "any further action is likely to be taken" over the tennis presenter's misjudged remark about the Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. Inverdale's flip comment that Ms Bartoli was "never going to be a looker...so you have to be scrappy and fight" was crass, insensitive and smacked of an old colonel standing at the golf club bar, snapping his braces. It's not a question of political correctness to find this observation offensive: surely, in these enlightened times, we should be able to discuss women's talents and achievements without reference to how they look.

Around 700 people registered their disapproval of Inverdale to the BBC - as ever, we don't know whether they were moved to complain because of what he said, or because of the fuss about what he said - and we should remember that the incident occurred almost two weeks ago. Inverdale has said sorry, both on air and in writing, and Ms Bartoli appears to have graciously accepted his apology, so Ms Miller's intervention in the past 24 hours might be regarded as a little bit after the event, too late even for the action replay.

She may even be accused - heaven forfend - of political opportunism, but Ms Miller, who is also minister for women and equalities, is catching a wave by reviving this issue in the week that the Open golf championship takes place at Muirfield, a venue where women are not allowed to become members, and the Test Match between England and Australia is being fought out at Lord's where, only 15 years ago, the Queen was the only woman allowed to enter the pavilion.

Sport, a largely testosterone-fuelled pursuit, is where sexism has, down the years, been allowed to flourish, and what Inverdale was expressing was the sort of sentiment that millions of otherwise right-thinking men watching Wimbledon may have shared, and might even have articulated in more direct terms. As far as men-only Muirfield is concerned, Rory McIlroy said "it's something that shouldn't happen. It's something that we shouldn't even be talking about." Contrast this with the comments of Peter Dawson, the chief executive of golf's governing body: "If, on a Saturday morning, a guy gets out of the marital bed and plays golf with his chums, that is not on any kind of par with racial discrimination, anti-Semitism or any of these things. It is just what people do."

Mr Dawson is clearly a man who plays off a low handicap when it comes to non-sequiturs, and may be a black belt in obfuscation. He doesn't even begin to address the issue of why, in 2013, women are barred from membership of a golf club in a country - Scotland - where golf is supposed to be inclusive, demotic and free from the airs and graces that bedevil the sport elsewhere. He and Inverdale, who will be presenting the BBC's coverage from Muirfield, may well find they have lots in common over their gin and tonics this weekend.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there