On Monday evening, BBC presenter Clive Myrie looked at his watch, declared it to be after the watershed and promptly described Tyson Fury as a ‘dickhead’. This was an unusual move for a BBC presenter, as their normal remit does not allow them to use descriptions any more insulting than ‘Republican Presidential Candidate’.
To give the quote some context, he actually said that Fury ‘cannot be a dickhead and win Sports Personality of the Year’, referring to the petition that at the time of writing has over 120,000 signatures, calling for Fury to be removed from the nominations due to homophobic comments made in the media.
Whether or not Tyson is a dickhead is not really up for debate because a) such an insult is so obviously subjective, being up to each individual to give his or her own assessment of his character and b) because he definitely is a massive dickhead. Instead, we should be asking whether or not his personal views should have an effect on whether his sporting achievements are recognised in such a public arena.
Fury’s views are more than just a liberal’s nightmare, they’re downright odd. The first interview that landed him in trouble was with the Mail on Sunday, where he stated “There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home. One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other is paedophilia. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?”
“Emily Davidson died for nothing”
Fury is by no means the only person with the opinion that homosexuality and abortion are sinful, but he may be the one of the only in Britain with such a public forum in which to express these views. And comparing them to paedophilia is hardly going to persuade anyone over to his point of view.
More recently, he was quoted as saying that fellow Sports Personality nominee, Jessica Ennis-Hill ‘slaps up good’ and ‘when she has a dress on she looks quite fit’. He then spectacularly qualified his remarks by justifying that he is not sexist, he just believes ‘a woman’s best place is in the kitchen or on her back’, striking up imagery of a helpless up-turned turtle, frustrated as to not being able to put its culinary skills into practice. That, according to Tyson Fury, is what a woman should be. A useless reptile. Emily Davidson died for nothing.
So the question remains, should Tyson Fury be nominated for Sports Personality of the Year? The answer comes down to how the award wants to define itself. If it is an award for Sports, then Fury should have a genuine chance of winning it, and should certainly have been nominated. His triumph over the 11-year unbeaten Klitschko was a remarkable piece of boxing. If the award is for Personality, then he probably shouldn’t win.
“How can you possibly invest if it were two likeminded, kind-hearted liberal socialists punching each other in a ring?”
Then again, Fury might have made the whole argument a lot easier by declaring ‘I hope I don’t win [Sports Personality] as I’m not a good role model in the world for the kids. Give it to someone who’d appreciate it’. So perhaps that’s the answer. He doesn’t want to win, 120,000 people don’t want him to win. Maybe he should be relieved of his nomination due to his personal views.
If, of course, those are actually his personal views. Many boxing fans have declared that Fury is the best thing to happen to boxing in decades, because he is an interesting character. A character built on the ‘I don’t care what you think of me’ attitude. He has a vastly popular spirit, not in spite of his views. It would be entirely unsurprising if he did not actually believe what he was saying, but was merely creating a boxing persona.
After all – don’t ask why – but boxing is seemingly deemed a more entertaining sport if it is two interesting people punching each other. How can you possibly invest in the match if it were two likeminded, kind-hearted liberal socialists punching each other in a ring? So perhaps Fury doesn’t believe what he says at all. Or perhaps he’s just been punched in the head once too often.
Image: WorldSeriesBoxing via Flickr