Eddie Jones’ Emma Raducanu comments rooted in ‘sexism and misogyny’, Olympian claims

Women’s Sport Trust ambassador Kate Richardson-Walsh believes it’s no coincidence that Jones chose an 18-year-old female athlete as a target

Tom Harle
Monday 08 November 2021 15:22
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<p>Eddie Jones has come under fire for his comments </p>

Eddie Jones has come under fire for his comments

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Eddie Jones’s comments about Emma Raducanu were “sexist” and “misinformed”, blasted Olympian Kate Richardson-Walsh.  

The England head coach sparked an uproar after using Raducanu’s response to her US Open win as a warning to young fly-half Marcus Smith.

“The big thing for young players is distractions,” said Jones. “Distractions can be the exposure they get in the media, the praise and criticism they get, groups of agents who see this guy as the next big thing.

“There’s a reason why the girl who won the US Open [Raducanu] hasn’t done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper’s Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes.

“He is grounded, but they all start off grounded. No-one starts with their feet off the ground or they don’t get in the team, or they don’t win a US Open. But there’s this flood of distractions that comes in that makes you ungrounded.”

Richardson-Walsh, an ambassador for the Women’s Sport Trust, believes it’s no coincidence that Jones chose an 18-year-old female athlete as a target.

“Those comments are based on sexism and misogyny and I think that’s at the core of it,” said the Rio 2016 hockey champion.

“It’s about who holds power and who we are happy to have power. I’ve forgotten people’s names before but it’s not well informed - she was doing fashion magazine shoots before the US Open.

“Why is it negative for women to have money and connections with brands and businesses? The message is for us to focus on one thing, you can’t multitask, you can’t have it all.

“The history of male sport is of how many athletes have prospered and done other things that they like in their lives.

“Sport has moved on - maybe 20 years ago it was different. Now it’s about holistic care for people and what makes them happy.”

This week Raducanu has risen into the world top 20 for the first time in her career and is playing in a WTA 250 event in Linz, her third tournament on the top-level circuit.

The teenager has put on record that she would not cancel “one training session” to honour an off-court commitment.

Richardson-Walsh compared Jones’s outburst to the criticism aimed at the activism efforts of Premier League footballers.

“I think athletes from marginalised communities are always told to stick to sport,” she said.

Emma Raducanu won the US Open in September

“Marcus Rashford was told to get out of politics by a lot of people and just look at what good he is doing. The same goes for Raheem Sterling, that is what those who are away from the centre of power are told.

“Muslim communities, women, LGBTQ+ people, black people, people with disabilities, I think we’ll all get it. We just want power to be shared.”

Jones has been forced to defend his coaching style amid reports in The Times about the extent of staff turnover and a bust-up with former colleague John Mitchell.

The Australian has long cultivated an interest in the sporting world outside of rugby - he is a lifelong cricket fan and has sought advice from other coaches like Pep Guardiola.

“He has other things in his life because he feels like he needs different stimulus and other people to talk to,” said Richardson-Walsh.

“That probably will help him grow as a coach. That’s how he works. And so you should then think about how he can support the people in his care.

“I was very fortunate to play for a long time, but some of these athletes will be in and out of sport, and you want them to have had a really great experience to grow as people.”

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