David Jones apologises for 'spoiling' Gary Neville's speech on racism in football

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Football fans were angry with the ending to Gary Neville’s speech on Sky Sports about the problem with racism in football on Sunday.

Following Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, in which Blues defender Antonio Rudiger allegedly suffered racist abuse, Neville hit out at the Premier League for ducking the issue and at leading politicians in the UK for allowing racism to become prevalent in British society.

“We have a racism problem in the Premier League, in England, and the Premier League have got to stand up," Neville said. 

"They hide behind the FA, the Premier League, on this issue, they hide behind the FA, in my opinion. They push disciplinary issues to the FA. 

"Yes, we heard the announcements at the end. But I said it a couple of weeks ago, we’ve just had a General Election in this country, both main parties and the leaders of both main parties [have been] accused constantly over the last month of fuelling racism and accepting racism in their parties.

"If it’s accepted in the highest office in the country, we’re not talking at a micro-level, we’re talking about it at the absolute highest office in the country.”

Neville continued by urging players to walk off the pitch in future but his speech was ended by host David Jones issuing a disclaimer to distance Sky Sports from his comments.

"I am compelled to say the opinions of you, Gary Neville, are not those of Sky Sports, that is my duty,” Jones said.

It was a disappointing way to end what was a powerful message from the former Manchester United right-back.

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Fans were upset that Sky Sports shied away from the issue and aimed some of their frustrations towards Jones.

The presenter has since tweeted apologising for intervening and explaining why he had to do so.

Jones insisted it was because Neville suggested the Labour and Conservative parties were to blame and that both he and Sky Sports do not tolerate racism.

“I’m so sorry to have spoiled what was such an important discussion on racism tonight,” he wrote.

“I had to intervene when Gary suggested the two main political parties were to blame - I didn’t make that clear enough. For that I apologise unreservedly.

“I would never purposefully shut down a discussion on racism.

“I’ve worked for Sky for over 20 years and know they share my view that racism of any kind should not be tolerated. That is not a debate.

“And that’s why I’m so very disappointed and sorry tonight.”

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Jones was put in an uncomfortable position and handled it as best he could.

It's a real shame that Sky Sports couldn't allow Neville's comments to pass without his disclaimer, though.

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