Sunday Game pundit, Joe Brolly, has been censured from many quarters
In the aftermath of last Sunday’s All Ireland Semi Final, Joe Brolly rounded on referee Maurice Deegan, for not awarding Padraig McNulty a penalty. In his typical flamboyant manner, Brolly stated Deegan, ‘did something to Tyrone today which normally happens between consenting adults’.
Although Brolly argued, ‘it was an obvious penalty and there’s no point in trying to gloss over that’, later that night, footage emerged showing that Deegan had indeed made the right call. Consequently Brolly’s criticism has drawn ire from many within the GAA, with the President of the Association, Aogán Ó Fearghail, describing the Sunday Games’s analysis as ‘predictable’ and ‘tiresome’, and attacking it for being ‘consistent in its negativity’.
The manner in which Brolly criticised the referee angered Ó Fearghail further, who advocated for, ‘analysis where people say something went wrong and where they point out that something could be improved and there’s nothing wrong with that but using that type of language is not something I like’.
Brolly’s comments have also drawn scorn from other quarters, with Denis Walsh telling Newstalk’s Off The Ball last night, ‘I think he went too far with that and I think he was wrong to bring that into the conversation’. Walsh observed that pundits have a ‘responsibility to choose their language carefully’.
Indeed, when asked if the tone of The Sunday Game’s coverage would have an impact on future broadcasting rights negotiations, Ó Fearghail remarked, ‘It could be an issue, yeah, I don’t know’.
Ó Fearghail’s comments could be seen as a veiled threat, particularly after he mentioned,
‘A lot of our members are saying to me that they are unhappy with certain comments that are made and, some of it is fine and you have to have accept that administrators, players, they do things wrong and we get things wrong. If it’s commented upon we have to accept that but when you use language like that, I don’t like adjectives that are hurtful to people.’
However the outspoken Brolly has taken to Twitter to blast his critics, arguing that they ‘they want Rose of Tralee coverage, instead of the real stuff discussed by GAA folk in the stands & bars’.
@JohnFogartyIrl they want Rose of Tralee coverage, instead of the real stuff discussed by GAA folk in the stands & bars
— Joe Brolly (@JoeBrolly1993) August 25, 2015
Although Brolly’s Tweet will enrage many within the GAA, he does have a point, when it comes to the differing tone of the coverage broadcast by Sky and RTE.
As the main goal of the subscription funded broadcaster is to sell what is on screen, Sky’s coverage has traditionally been bland, steering clear of controversy. Conversely RTE’s analysis has been unafraid to stimulate debate, engaging with its audience through controversial pundits such as Brolly, Eamon Dunphy or George Hook.
However in doing so, RTE has often found itself in hot water, with viewers and sports figures angered by the dramatic comments made by such analysts.
Nonetheless, Brolly’s most recent tirade may yet be seen as a watershed, particularly if the GAA use his style as a means of negotiating a better broadcasting agreement.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena