Former RTE soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy has strongly criticised the broadcaster for their decision to remove Joe Brolly from their All-Ireland final replay panel.
The Derry native will be replaced by former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford for Saturday’s clash between Kerry and Dublin following comments he made during their original encounter earlier this month.
Brolly accused referee David Gough of being “influenced by Kerry propaganda” following his decision to send off Jonny Cooper just before half-time. Although he later apologised for his comments, RTE chose not to include Brolly alongside Pat Spillane and Ciaran Whelan for their replay coverage. Reports have since suggested that the controversial pundit will no longer work for the broadcaster.
Writing in his column in the Irish Daily Star, Dunphy accused RTE of not backing their pundits, a factor which encouraged him to leave last year.
“To me, the culture has changed in the studio in contrast to a decade ago and before. Once that happens, then that places pundits in a difficult place.
“The analyst must be supported by his boss and referring back to my final two or three years out in Montrose, I did not get the feeling that this was the case.”
Dunphy maintained that the broadcaster needs opinionated analysts like Brolly and accused RTE of softening up their coverage, referring to an incident a number of years ago when he was told to tone down his criticism of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.
“That was, and still is, quite improper and the idea that a panellist should not give their honest opinion of what is going on is dishonest for the viewer.
“The softening up the content of analysts is a trend that was in train before I left RTE last year and was one of the reasons why I exited the station after more than three decades working there.
“Once a network goes down that road then it is not being faithful to the customer and viewer any longer. And it’s the viewers across the country who are the ones who lose out most. Never, ever forget that they pay the largest part of RTE’s annual income through the licence fee.
“At a time when Neville and Keane have added bite to Sky Sports and ITV Sport, the irony and folly of not having Brolly on RTÉ is all the more puzzling. If Brolly is lost to RTÉ’s GAA coverage then it’s a blow to its coverage.”