Written by Jen Offord

In The News

The fury over Fury

Tyson Fury is a boxer who thinks women should be in the kitchen and being gay is the same as being a paedophile. Should he be nominated for The BBC Sports Personality of the Year? Over to you Jen Offord.

boxing-glove-1430742-1599x990The perfume adverts are on the telly again which can only mean one thing, as that smug shit tells us he’s not going to be the person we expect him to be any more for the fourth time in one day: it’s December.

But December is about more than tense family meals and rampant, soulless consumerism – it’s also about Clare Balding putting on her best sparkly cowl-neck top and telling us who’s been good at running or whatever, this year. That’s right, it’s time for the The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 and the nominations have finally been revealed, and guess what, one of them is a bit of a bellend.

Boxer Tyson Fury, who hit the headlines for winning the World Heavyweight Championship title from Wladimir Klitschko in a unanimous points decision, and is our first Heavyweight champ in six years, has unsurprisingly made the cut. It was Fury’s 25th win in his 25 professional fights career, 18 of which have been by KO. Impressive stuff, if you like that sort of thing.

“There’s a bit of a problem with the title “Sports Personality”, which implies some kind of emphasis on the nominees as people, rather than just being very, very good at running, or whatever.”

But as well as being a tremendous boxer, Fury is tremendously good at saying moronic and horrible things, such as a woman’s place is “in the kitchen or on her back”, or confusing homosexuality and paedophilia. Understandably, equal rights campaigners are a little perturbed by all this and have petitioned for the BBC to hang its head in shame and rescind said nomination. Of course, it does feel a little odd to read about said outrage courtesy of renowned defenders of gay rights and women, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

There’s a bit of a problem with the title “Sports Personality”, which, I would suggest, implies some kind of emphasis on the nominees as people, rather than just being very, very good at running, or whatever. So, before I make my case in earnest, I’d like to remind everyone that this is about outstanding athletic achievement. I mean, y’all remember when no one liked Andy Murray much, right?

“But listen to Tyson Fury’s vile opinions!” the mob shrieks, its rolled-up copy of the Daily Mail aloft, “He’s not a ‘personality’ to be celebrated!”

Well no, I’m rather inclined to agree, but I can’t help feeling if we just called it “Very, very good runner or whatever of the year”, we’d be encountering fewer problems here. Fury is, quite undeniably, very, very good at punching people in the chops.

“But he’s a role model!” the mob mithers. So was every athlete competing at the controversial Socchi Winter Olympics, which were overshadowed by terrifying Russian laws about homosexuality. So is every Youtube vlogger teaching your daughter how to look far more sexual than any 11-year-old should and post their pouting selfies on the internet to be rated in attractiveness by strangers. And yes, his heinous views will be heard by children, but so will yours, baying mob – Tyson Fury is not raising your children. Make your views louder and ideally try not to use the Daily Mail to inform them.

Look at the many other celebrated people in public life with a chequered/bloodied history. Convicted rapist, Mike Tyson has graced the Instagram feed of Manchester United and England international footballer, Wayne Rooney, cuddling up next to him, and gets to appear in Hollywood Blockbusters as a figure of mirth alongside the likes of Bradley Cooper. Chris Brown knocks seven shades of shit out of girlfriend Rihanna and goes on to have an even more successful career than he had before he found himself wiping bloodstains off the window of his fast car. Consecutive British governments have sold arms to Middle Eastern countries who they’ve then gone on to bomb. And I continue not to be married to Thierry Henry. The good guys don’t always win, yeah?

“Should we renounce our responsibility to educate people and censor the ones saying things we don’t want to hear? Personally, I’d love to, but I’d also like to live in a benign dictatorship with me at the helm of power.”

The other thing about being a role model is that it goes both ways; while we look for people to be like, we look for people not to be like, too. It is impossible to watch a video of a man ranting about how he’s going to get his mate, Big Shane, to beat up the journalist who exposed him as a homophobic, sexist, scrotum of a man, while citing Loose Women as a legitimate news source, and feel the need to emulate him. Isn’t it? Maybe it isn’t, if you’re a homophobic, sexist, scrotum of a person, too, or have leanings in that particular testicular direction, unfortunately some people just are.

Should we renounce our responsibility to educate people and censor the ones saying things we don’t want to hear? Personally, I’d love to, but I’d also like to live in a benign dictatorship with me at the helm of power, and sadly that’s not how it works. And the problem with shutting things down in this way as that it just makes something quite seem more interesting – after all, why the fuss?

Look at the rate of teenage pregnancy in the UK, widely considered so because of our refusal to have frank discussions with young people about the birds and the bees. Look at the universal teenage past time of drinking bad cider on park benches; look at the inexplicable popularity of UKIP. Ironically, I’d never even heard of Tyson Fury until everyone started shouting about how outrageous he was, now I’ve had to hear his deeply offensive opinions on the hour, every hour for the last seven days.

Let Fury take to the stage, most people – the ones who are not homophobic, sexist, scrotum-like people – aren’t going to vote for him, anyway. Give him his moment and rub your palms together with delight when he fails to understand why Jessica Ennis-Hill doesn’t want to be anywhere near him, and let him show the kids who they categorically do not want to be like.

@inspireajen

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Written by Jen Offord

Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen