Football fans and social media users were left stunned after Joey Barton, the former footballer and manager, appeared on TalkTV to discuss his controversial views on female commentators and pundits.
Barton’s misogynistic remarks have ignited a firestorm of criticism and debate across the sports world after the recently sacked manager decided to wage war on female pundits.
The uproar began when Barton took to social media on Wednesday evening to express his contentious opinions, stating that women “shouldn’t be talking about the men’s game” and that men who listen to female commentators “need their heads testing.” He continued his tirade on Thursday, asserting that women were only securing roles in men’s football due to TV companies’ “quotas to fill and boxes to tick.”
During his appearance on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Barton doubled down on his views, blaming the so-called “woke agenda” for the presence of female pundits and commentators in football.
He went on to claim that he “can’t take a thing they say seriously in the men’s arena” and argued that their presence was “ruining the experience for most men.”
Barton’s comments have drawn widespread condemnation on social media, with many users lambasting his sexist remarks.
The controversy appears to have been triggered by Barton’s apparent displeasure with the number of female presenters and commentators featured on Amazon Prime’s Premier League coverage this week.
Highly-experienced broadcasters such as Eni Aluko, Siobhan Chamberlain, Gabby Logan, and Robyn Cowen were among those contributing to the coverage.
Barton’s initial incendiary post on social media read: “Women shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority in the men’s game. Come on. Let’s be serious. It’s a completely different game. If you don’t accept that, we will always see things differently. The women’s game is thriving. Fantastic to see. I cannot take a thing they say seriously in the men’s arena #namaste.” He followed up just seven minutes later with, “Any man who listens to women commentary or co-comms needs their heads testing… #sticktoyourowngame.”
His sexist comments continued as he targeted his former club, City, for employing a female presenter for their men’s matches.
Sharing a video of the presenter setting the scene before a Champions League clash, Barton wrote, “I mean look at the nonsense. You give them an inch… Was going to use the hashtag #Getthemout but no doubt it will be taken out of context… Out of the stadiums and off the concourses with the influencer nonsense. Men surely, enough’s enough? Someone’s got to say something or it won’t ever end.”
Barton then claimed that women were being hired in men’s football solely to meet diversity quotas, stating, “Of course, loads of ex-top players can’t get a gig because the TV Companies have quotas to fill and boxes to tick. Their experience is thrown on the landfill to accommodate the ‘Woke.’ The only way they will change is if it hits them in the pocket. That only happens when the men decide to switch off. Millions mute the TVs, and that’s for some of the men. TV must be going out the window if you get a double dose of XX on the comms team for your next big match.”
Ironically, Barton had previously expressed support for the #HERGAMETOO initiative, a campaign aimed at combating sexism in sports. He had posed with a promotional card for the cause while managing Bristol Rovers. However, his recent comments starkly contrasted with his supposed commitment to promoting gender equality in the world of football.
Barton’s statements echoed those of former England manager Kevin Keegan, who had expressed discomfort with female footballers discussing men’s football. Barton had endorsed Keegan’s views in the past, drawing further criticism for his stance.
The fallout from Barton’s controversial appearance continues to spark discussions about gender equality in sports and the responsibilities of public figures in shaping public discourse.
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