Spitting image – why Sky benched Carragher

Spitting image – no option for Sky

As Jamie Carragher is now painfully aware – ‘Believe in better’ is Sky’s slogan.

It has served them well, especially with the creation of the best punditry partnership on TV, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.

The former foes, legends for their rival clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, have forged a fantastic partnership based on solid tactical knowledge, a passion for the game and of course, their relentless rivalry and ribbing of one another.  

It is classic ‘bants’, a laddish atmosphere that genuinely adds to the spectacle – if you like football anyway.

Carragher’s behaviour, however provoked he was by the oik driving alongside him, cannot be dismissed so easily. There is something utterly disgusting about spitting. I see it in the street a lot, mainly young men, absentmindedly spitting as they cross the road or just standing around looking vacant, drooling in onto the pavement.

It is pretty grim at that level but to spit AT someone. Utterly vile.

Now, I highly doubt Jamie intended to spit at a 14 year old girl. It was a reaction, plain and simple. Disgusting but not a measured assault. However, as a man in the public eye with an employer that is focused on family entertainment, it was always going to be judged to a higher and harsher standard.

He has actually been superb in terms of his PR crisis management, admitting guilt, being contrite, being proactive in all of these apologies and even pleading on social media for the family to be left alone. He has called it ‘a huge mistake in a moment of madness’ and it truly was.

He has now paid for it. Sky have just announced he will be suspended until the end of the football season.

A statement from Sky said: “Following an internal review, Sky has suspended Jamie Carragher for the remainder of the football season.

“Jamie has taken full responsibility for what has happened and we will ensure he gets the help he needs to guarantee something like this never happens again.

“Before the start of the next season we will sit down with Jamie to discuss whether he is ready to return to his role.”

To be fair to Sky, I cannot see what else they could have done.

If it had been anyone else, a newsreader for example, they would have done the same. The fact that it is one of their best and highest profile pundits means it will hit them hard but with a slogan of ‘Believe in Better’, you have to walk the walk.

PS – I’ll be interested to see if any bold broadcaster selects him to be on their World Cup team.