David Gower on Lloyd’s Sky exit: ‘At best, it’s bemusing, at worst, it’s frightening’
David Gower has sympathised with former colleague David Lloyd after the latter’s exit from Sky Sports.
Lloyd’s departure comes shortly after he was named by Azeem Rafiq during a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary selection committee hearing.
Speaking to a panel of MPs, Rafiq said: “This guy who doesn’t even know me, never spent any time with me, was talking about my personal drinking, going out. That was David Lloyd, England coach, commentator. I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front, and within a week of me speaking out that got sent to me and I thought ‘there’s some closet racists. I need to do something about it.’”
The Daily Mail reported that after the hearing, Lloyd phoned Rafiq to apologise and from that moment the former Yorkshire off-spinner considered the matter closed. While Lloyd’s resignation statement did not contain any reference to his mention at the DCMS hearing playing a part in his departure, the same Daily Mail report implied that it was the cause of his exit, after more than 20 years with the company.
Gower, speaking to the Daily Mail, said that “there is a difference between things said in confidence and things said in public.”
“Yes, it’s right to investigate if someone has said or done something that is out of order” he said. “And, yes, it’s right to correct that, bring people to book and hold them accountable. But there are limits. One of the things that strikes me now is that we are all having to be so very careful to say anything to anyone under any circumstances, just in case someone somewhere perceives one or two words to be out of place. But I do understand that on certain topics you have to make sure your thinking and speaking are careful. And obviously, there are modern standards that might be different to 10 or 20 or 40 years ago.”
He went on to add that that “balance” is the need of the hour.
“I personally see a difference between things said in confidence and things said in public. At best, it’s bemusing. At worst, it’s frightening. If it takes one word out of place, then absolutely no one in the entire western world would still be in a job. At no stage am I trying to condone anything that is egregiously or even vaguely racist. But balance is all. Surely a heartfelt apology is a step in the right direction.”