Friday 19 January 2018

Greg Rutherford: I did quit SPOTY over Tyson Fury, but BBC convinced me to stay

SPOTY nominee and Olympic champion rescinded his withdrawal after being asked to stay on by the BBC

Sports Personality of the Year nominee Greg Rutherford has revealed that he did pull out of the end-of-year awards because of misgivings around sharing a stage with Tyson Fury, only to then rescind his withdrawal after being asked to stay on by the BBC.

Reports on Wednesday morning suggested that the Olympic, world, Commonwealth and European long jump champion Rutherford, who is one of 12 people on the shortlist, had told the BBC he would pull out if Fury remained on the shortlist.

That position was then clarified by a Rutherford statement issued via his agent which confirmed that he would remain in the running to win the award.

However, the long jumper then revealed on Twitter that he had originally pulled out, only to reverse his decision at the request of the BBC.

A public petition has been set up calling for Fury to be removed from the shortlist, attracting more than 100,000 signatures.

The boxer, who was added to the list after being crowned world heavyweight champion, has refused to apologise for views he expressed recently on homosexuality, paedophilia and abortion.

Fury has also claimed that "a woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back".

Prior to his writing on Twitter, Rutherford had released a statement confirming that talks had taken place with the BBC.

"I have been in discussions with the BBC regarding my involvement with SPOTY after hearing what I believe to be very out-dated and derogatory comments from a fellow SPOTY nominee," said Rutherford.

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