Greg Rutherford threatens to pull out of SPOTY if Tyson Fury remains on shortlist
Sports Personality of the Year nominee Greg Rutherford has threatened to pull out of the BBC's end-of-year award's show if Tyson Fury remains on the shortlist.
And BBC executives fear others could follow Rutherford's lead if he follows through with his threat.
Olympic champion Rutherford, one of 12 sportsmen and women on the shortlist, has told the BBC he does not want to be part of the vote if Fury remains a contender.
A public petition has been set up calling for him to be removed from the shortlist and as attracted more than 100,000 signatures.
Fury, who was added to the list after being crowned World Heavyweight champion, has refused to apologise for claiming that once homosexuality, paedophilia and abortion are all made legal, the world will end.
Fury has also claimed: "a woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back".
The Englishman has called those who have signed the petition "w******" and has posted a message on twitter to say he doesn't want to win SPOTY anyway.
Rutherford, who is an outside contender for the main award, rose to fame during the 2012 London Olympics, and has been nominated this year after winning triple-jump gold at the World Championships in Beijing earlier this year.
Hopefully I don't win @BBCSPOTY as I'm not the best roll model in the world for the kids, give it to someone who would appreciate it,— Gypsy King (@Tyson_Fury) December 4, 2015
Despite Rutherford's threat, the BBC insist they will not change the nominations despite the outcry over Fury's inclusion.
A spokesperson said: “The Sports Personality shortlist is compiled by a panel of industry experts and is based on an individual’s sporting achievement – it is not an endorsement of an individual’s personal beliefs either by the BBC or members of the panel.”
Ealier this week, BBC News presenter Clive Myrie, during a live newspaper review branded Fury a “d******” after checking that it was “after the watershed”.
Meanwhile, the Sports Journalists’ Association, organisers of the British Sports Awards in London next week, has withdrawn its invitation to Fury to attend the event.
The decision was made as a consequence of threats made by Fury against at least one sports journalist, an SJA member, who has written about the boxer’s repugnant comments on homosexuality and women.
A spokesman for the SJA said: “We are aware of threats made by Tyson Fury against one of our members, and therefore feel that it would be incompatible with the nature of our event, or the interests of our members, our other guests and our sponsors, for us to continue to extend a welcome to Tyson Fury to our awards next week.”