WATCH - David Moyes accused of verbally abusing another female BBC reporter
David Moyes stood accused of verbally abusing a second female football reporter on Monday night after footage emerged of him aiming an expletive-laden rant at Jacqui Oatley.
On the day Moyes, the Sunderland manager, responded to the Football Association over his threat to “slap” BBC journalist Vicki Sparks, the corporation revealed an earlier post-match interview that provoked another angry outburst by the Scot.
The FA was already considering charging the former Manchester United manager over the Sparks spat and will be under even more pressure to do so now after the emergence of an incident that casts doubt on his claim that his conduct last month had been “out of character”.
The newly-revealed footage from a game in December 2012, during Moyes’s final season at Everton, shows the 53 year-old taking exception to a question from Oatley, who made history a decade ago this month by becoming the first female commentator on Match of the Day and was made an MBE last year.
After a match against Stoke City, Oatley questioned Moyes on-camera about a butt by Marouane Fellaini, which was missed by the referee. Oatley then posed two follow-up questions about other incidents involving the midfielder and the impact of Everton losing him for a number of games due to a potential ban.
Moyes replied: “Bad enough asking me about the first one never mind asking me another one. I’ve not seen the other stuff. It’s down to the FA. I've answered your question and you’ve come back with another one.”
The interview then ended, upon which Moyes is alleged to have confronted Oatley over her line of questioning.
The expletive-laden language directed at her was not sexist and there is thought to have been no reference to the reporter’s gender. However, Oatley was upset enough about it to lodge a complaint with Everton, who allegedly failed to provide her with a response.
Asked to comment on the matter on Monday, the Merseysiders said: “We are unaware of any complaint. The club would strongly condemn any behaviour by an employee which is threatening or abusive to anyone doing their job.”
The BBC confirmed it was investigating, a spokesman saying: “This incident took place five years ago and we’re looking into what actions were taken at the time.”
Oatley, who has fronted the corporation’s live women’s football coverage and was one of ITV’s anchors at last summer’s European Championship, is no stranger to vile, sexist abuse and worse. In October, she told how she was forced to call the police after receiving violent threats online from a man who threatened to “cut” her, among other “unmentionable” things.
Last summer, while in France covering Euro 2016, Oatley hit back at a Twitter user who suggested she should be “at home cooking tea rather than presenting football,” by saying she was a “bit busy doing my dream job”.
Moyes last week expressed his “deep regret” over menacing post-interview comments he made to Sparks following bottom-of-the-Premier-League Sunderland’s goalless draw with Burnley on March 18.
During the post-match interview, Sparks had asked Moyes if the presence of the club’s owner, Ellis Short, had put extra pressure on him. He said it had not but, after the interview, accused Sparks of being “a wee bit naughty”, adding: “You still might get a slap, even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.”
After more than a day of silence when the footage emerged last week, Sunderland issued a statement describing their manager’s conduct as “wholly unacceptable” before confirming they nevertheless had no plans to sack him.
They declined to comment on Monday on the latest allegations, as did the FA, the chairman of which last week became the most senior figure in the game to condemn Moyes. Greg Clarke accused the Scot of showing a “complete lack of respect” to Sparks and of undermining efforts to eradicate domestic abuse by threatening to hit her.
Moyes appears all but certain to be punished by the FA for using “threatening” words towards Sparks and may also be sanctioned for breaching its rules on discrimination, with Clarke declaring his behaviour could be interpreted as sexist.