Eric Bristow: Ex-darts champion loses Sky role for football sex abuse comments

Eric Bristow
Eric Bristow had been involved with Sky Sports' darts coverage since the early 1990s
Warning: The following article contains language that readers may find offensive

Former darts world champion Eric Bristow has lost his role with Sky Sports after suggesting football abuse victims are not "proper men".

Bristow asked on Twitter why victims did not "sort out" their abusers "when they got older and fitter".

More than 20 ex-footballers have made allegations of child sex abuse.

"He was a contributor to our darts coverage in the past but we will not be using him in the future," said a Sky spokesman.

Newcastle United said they had dropped Bristow "immediately" from a scheduled appearance at St James' Park on 6 December and "will not work with Eric Bristow in the future".

Former Crewe player Steve Walters, one of the footballers to have come forward, said he was "disgusted" by Bristow's remarks.

Several former footballers have waived their right to anonymity in order to go public and raise awareness of alleged historical abuse in football, a step which has won praise from politicians, sport administrators and abuse charities.

At least eight police forces are now investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse.

Bristow, who was made an MBE in 1989, suggested that darts players were "tough guys" and footballers "wimps".

He added the victims should not be able to look themselves in the mirror for not "getting their own back" on their abusers in adulthood.

In addition to his comments on sex abuse victims, Bristow caused anger by conflating paedophiles with homosexuals in a tweet that read: "Might be a loony but if some football coach was touching me when I was a kid, as I got older I would have went back and sorted that poof out."

Bristow has since deleted each of those tweets.

Duncan Craig, chief executive of the charity Survivors Manchester, said he has reported Bristow's tweets to Staffordshire Police as a "hate crime".

The charity, which supports male victims of sex crimes, now has Walters as an ambassador.

Craig said of Bristow: "His comments are absolutely appalling.

"Bristow is ill-educated but that's not a crime. However, calling someone derogatory homosexual terms is a hate crime in my view.

"The reason many men don't speak out is because they feel less of man, feel judged, feel ashamed. Bristow is perpetuating those myths to his 93,000 followers - that's why I'm taking such a strong stance."

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