RTÉ sport apologises for comment on religionSaturday, August 4th, 2012
RTÉ Sport has said that Olympic presenter Bill O'Herlihy never intended to cause offence with comments he made during coverage of Donegal's Chloe Magee's opening badminton match of the Olympic Games this week.
During the broadcast Mr O'Herlihy said, “Do you know something, when I was a young fella' growing up badminton was considered a Protestant game, in a sense it was played by Protestants mainly, but it has exploded completely now. It's a completely different game now isn't it?”
However in a statement RTÉ said, “Bill's comment was a personal observation which, as he stated, is completely at odds with the modern game. The presenter never intended to cause any offence by the comment.”
Meanwhile Chloe Magee has asked that religion be kept out of the sport.
She said, “I think it's very important that we remember what the Olympics are all about. There are people from all over the world here. There are religions from all over the world here. I'm sure he didn't mean to say it. Sport is about participation. Why bring something like this into it.”
Magee, who bowed out of the Olympics this week and is ranked 44th in the world, added that she had never heard religion mentioned in her sport before. However she added that she believed that Mr O'Herlihy made a mistake and that, “people make mistakes.”
The comments were also criticised by Donegal based Church of Ireland Rev Canon David Crooks of Lifford.
He said, “Sport should not be categorised by religion or politics. If people engage in sport and play it to the best of their ability and work hard at it, it doesn't matter where they come from or who they are.”
He added, “Don't forget that Sam Maguire (the man for whom the All-Ireland Football Cup is named) was a Protestant.”
by Sean Ryan