Sky Sports presenter David Jones has issued an apology for comments he made during a post-match discussion on racism in football after Tottenham’s loss to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
In that match, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was the subject of alleged racist abuse from a Spurs fan in the second half. The referee was made aware of the incident which led to messages being communicated over the tannoy and the match was halted at times before play continued.
After the game, the Sky Sports panel of Gary Neville, Graeme Souness and Ashley Cole spoke passionately about racism in English football and what needs to be done in order to combat this.
Neville spoke about the two main political parties in the UK and the recent general election where racism was a talking point and this seemed to prompt Jones to intervene in the discussion to state that Neville’s views were his own and not that of Sky Sports.
“I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago that we have just had a General Election in this country where the leaders of both main parties are accused constantly over the past month of fuelling racism and accepting racism in their parties,” Neville said.
“If it is accepted in the highest office in the country then we aren’t talking at a micro level, we are talking at an enormous level.
“It is the same here today, which you could say is down to one individual person but it is a far bigger problem than that and something needs to happen quickly.
“Ultimately we need to empower the players to walk off the pitch and stop the entertainment while it is happening.”
"We have to empower the players to walk off the pitch and stop the entertainment while it's happening."
The Super Sunday panel discuss the incident of alleged racism in the second half of Tottenham vs Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/mgEw0NlT7F
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 22, 2019
This led to outrage on social media, with many believing that Jones’ comments were unnecessary and out of touch.
“I am compelled to say that those are the opinions of Gary Neville and not Sky Sports. That is my duty,” Jones said after Neville’s comments.
Jones has since apologised for his comments via his social media account.
I would never purposefully shut down a discussion on racism. I’ve worked for Sky for over 20 years and know they share my view that racism of any kind should not be tolerated. That is not a debate. And that’s why I’m so very disappointed and sorry tonight.
— DAVID JONES (@DavidJonesSky) December 22, 2019