Saturday, December 12, 2015

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 takes place in Belfast on Sunday 20th December. Hazel Irvine has provided this helpful video guide explaining how the contenders were shortlisted. Ms Irvine says that being crowned Sports Personality of the Year is potentially the pinnacle of a British sportsman or woman's career.

Hazel Irvine: Not only does it affirm and underline your achievements, it also embeds you, if you like, in the public consciousness.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson tells viewers about the diverse sporting backgrounds of the SPOTY selection panel.

Dame Mary Peters: It's been an amazing year and there's been a really strong list of contenders ...

And after the Panel's deliberations --

Dame Mary Peters: .... that was hard work. It was so difficult to shortlist down because there was so much, so much talent, and there were so many to choose from. But I think we got it right in the end.

Jermaine Jenas: It's the first time I've been involved in it, and it was nice to see how the process happens and how in-depth and how much thought goes into these people being nominated ...

Hazel Irvine: Well the panel has met, and there's been a lot of lively discussion about who should, and perhaps should not be on that list. But I think we've come to a consensus - a well agreed consensus ...

About a week later it emerged that there had, in fact, been no discussion of the inclusion of Andy Murray and Tyson Fury on the shortlist. Ms Irvine should have made that clear in her explanation, especially in view of these Terms and conditions which required the Panel to take account of the 'impact' over and beyond the sport or sporting achievement in question.

Many fair-minded people do not think that someone who repeatedly makes homophobic and sexist comments, and who suggested he would murder his sister if she was promiscuous, is the sort of person who deserves to be on the shortlist for an award to embed their 'personality' in the public consciousness.

If the BBC does not remove Tyson Fury from its list of contenders they will be making the biggest mistake since they asked the public to have their say on whether homosexuals should face execution. And now they have the temerity to suspend a member of staff, Andy West, for feeling aggrieved at the way the BBC still treats the concerns of its gay staff and journalists.

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