Thursday, 12 March 2009

The insensitivity of the BBC

I don't have Sky Sports in the flat, so I was keeping up with the football scores last night on the BBC's live football blog - which on this occasion was written by Jonathan Stevenson.

I usually find this a fairly good way to keep up with scores and general banter if I can't actually watch the game. The humour is pretty good and occasionally text comments, emails and lines from the BBC's sporting debate site 606 are published.

Let me paint a picture of what was going on in the Arsenal-Roma match last night. Arsenal were 1-0 down to Roma on the night, tying the score 1-1 on aggregate over the two matches, with five minutes left in extra time. Their strikers had a pretty rubbish night, their shooting was abysmal and they missed a few sitters. Then this comment came through on 606:

In case you can't read it there, it says: "Looks like Arsenal should've bought more Germans..."

Now, after Bayern Munich beat Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate, if I'm being generous to the guy, he may have been referring to that. But after yesterday's shooting in a German school, the comments seem crass and insensitive and in all likelihood, should not have been published.

I mean, there's banter and there's banter. And there's a public discussion forum and in private and the BBC should really have drawn a line there.

On reflection, I may be reading a bit more into this than was the intention. A number of commentators have suggested the reference was to German penalty taking, something that never occurred to me. However, I still think whoever was editing at the time might have thought it through a wee bit before publication.


Chekov 12 March 2009 at 14:10  

Germans are better at taking penalties. Your interpretation wouldn't even have occurred to me. I think you're being hypersensitive to be honest.

Jeff 12 March 2009 at 14:10  

Maybe I'm being too nice but I would be surprised if that crossed the person's mind for a second.

My take on it would be that Germany always cuff England at penalties and with 5 minutes before spotkicks, another 'English' defeat was on the cards.

In all honesty, I think you're overreacting a bit old boy...

Anonymous,  12 March 2009 at 14:13  

Actually I think you're reading way too much into it.

It was surely a reference to the tie heading for penalties, and the fact that German sides are traditionally excellent at these - the German national team last lost a penalty shootout in 1976 and (according to wikipedia) haven't even missed a penalty in a shootout since 1982.

sarge,  12 March 2009 at 14:15  

Mac, i tend to agree with the other comments. I really don't think this would have crossed the guy's mind. If this is the type of guy he really was, i am sure his 'nature' would have been obvious well before this.

Malc 12 March 2009 at 14:25  

Fair enough.

It might just have been because I'd just seen that on the news and it was fresh in my mind that I linked the two comments. It was also the fact that there were (...) after the comment which led to me think more sinister thoughts were at play.

You guys are probably right with regards to it being a reference to Germans and penalties.

I maintain, however, that on a day that German and shooting did not have such sporting connotations, the BBC might have been wise to think twice about printing it.

Jeff 12 March 2009 at 14:48  

The real question you have to ask yourself is, did Sarge make a spelling mistake or his he being condescending to the Scots when he calls you 'Mac'.

Sam 12 March 2009 at 20:52  

Read the Guardian Minute by Minute/Over by Over's instead. Started before the BBC who copied exactly the same format. Far far funnier on the Guardian.

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