Sports

Tyson Fury is disrespecting British sporting tradition with BBC SPOTY snub

Let’s get this straight from the start, I am a massive fan of Tyson Fury as a boxer and the person he has become.

His open battle and recovery from mental health issues and then what he has subsequently achieved in the ring, has been nothing short of inspirational.

But he has got it badly wrong with asking to be taken off this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) Award shortlist.

Professional athletes are sometimes accused of living in a bubble of self-importance that is detached from reality.

The adoration of fans and the trappings of the money earned, can sometimes leave an athlete without a proper perspective on real life.

Fury does not appear to know what SPOTY symbolises

I am not saying that this is Tyson Fury because for the most part I believe he is very grounded.

But his decision with SPOTY does appear to be a loss of understanding for what this is all about.

The BBC SPOTY is a tradition in this country.

It is loved and watched by millions of people, from children to grandparents.

It is an opportunity for us to look back on what Great Britain has achieved within sport over the last year with immense pride.

Fury became a two-time world heavyweight champion with victory over Deontay Wilder in February

It is a collective moment for us to feel good about ourselves within a sporting context.

Yes, there are winners of awards, but it is about much more than that.

It is about pride for what we can achieve on this relatively small island in the world.

Of all years, we need this right now!

There are also some hugely deserving winners on the night for their work in the community in some very difficult circumstances.

Formula 1 world champion Hamilton is favourite to win SPOTY

These are the unsung heroes that get to stand in front of the nation and get a huge thank you.

They truly deserve to share the same stage, albeit virtual this year, as our sporting greats such as Lewis Hamilton and, of course, Tyson Fury.

Fury has got this badly wrong because it is not about him and him not needing affirmation from an award.

It is about us coming together to celebrate all that we have achieved this year.

Fury should understand his responsibility to support this, regardless of whether he wins or not. It made no sense to me to hear him say he didn’t need to be recognised for what he has done while standing in front of his various boxing belts.

Those belts are about him, supporting SPOTY is not about him.

The argument that he was unlikely to win anyway is irrelevant to me.

The BBC put on an incredible evening for SPOTY every year and all sports people, whether current or retired, should be doing their best to support it.

I really do hope someone talks this through with Fury because this is about much more than whether he wins the main award or not.

It is not about one individual sportsperson; it is about us as a sporting nation.




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