BBC pundit taken off air over comments about Derby’s ‘young black lads’

Former footballer removed by broadcaster after claiming players need ‘pulling down a peg or two’

Chiara Giordano
Monday 17 February 2020 10:41 GMT
BBC pundit taken off air over comments about Derby’s ‘young black lads’

The BBC has taken football pundit Craig Ramage off air over comments referring to Derby County’s “young black lads”.

Speaking on BBC Radio Derby’s Sportscene programme following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town, Ramage, 49, said: “When I look over and look at certain players, their body language, their stance, the way they act, you just feel, hold on a minute, he needs pulling down a peg or two.

“So I’d probably say that about all the young black lads, all the young advice if they wanted it, that, you know, it’s about, when you are struggling for form, you are going through a sticky patch, it’s about going back to basics, working hard, and doing the right things.”

Anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out swiftly called on the BBC to take action over the “entirely unacceptable” remarks.

The broadcaster later confirmed it had cut ties with the former Derby and Watford midfielder.

A spokesperson said in a statement: “These were entirely unacceptable comments and we will no longer be working with Craig.”

Ramage apologised “unreservedly” for his comments in a post on Twitter, stating: “What I said was wholly inappropriate and unintentional.

“Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing and I deeply regret what I said.

“I sincerely hope that the players accept my apology.”

Derby player Max Lowe said he was “shocked” by the comments and “decided to speak out on behalf of black footballers” at the club.

The 22-year-old added in a post on his Instagram page: “Racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance negatively affects the image of impressionable young footballers and creates an unnecessary divide in society.

“I am also disappointed that a public service broadcasters did not step in to ask the analyst to explain his reasoning, or to distance themselves from these archaic thoughts.”

Derby County said in a statement: “We have been in contact with the BBC throughout the day and underline that we do not in any way condone any form of discrimination.

“We take comments like these extremely seriously, we do not tolerate them, and stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players.”

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