A BBC soccer pundit who suggested “young, black lads” at Championship side Derby County “need pulling down a peg or two” will no longer be employed by the broadcaster.
Craig Ramage, who played for Derby in the 1980s and 90s, was speaking on the BBC’s Sportscene Podcast released Saturday.
Ramage drew criticism from 22-year-old Derby defender Max Lowe, who said he was “shocked” by the comments that were made after the Rams’ 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.
“Racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance negatively affects the image of impressionable young footballers and creates an unnecessary divide in society,” Lowe, who said he was “speak(ing) out on behalf of black footballers at Derby County,” wrote on Instagram.
“I am also disappointed that a public service broadcaster did not step in to ask the analyst to explain his reasoning, or to distance themselves from these archaic thoughts.
“This was broadcast at the same time BBC Derby is promoting a 27-minute feature with former Rams defender Charlie Palmer about the difficulties he faced a as a young black footballer in the 1980s.”
Lowe posted a transcript of the comments, in which he claimed Ramage said: “I think they’ve had it too easy, some of these players, and I think they’ve dropped off the boil feeling like they’ve arrived, they’ve made it.
“I might be wrong but from looking in, when I look over at certain players, their body language, their stance, the way they act, you just feel, hold on a minute, he needs pulling down a peg or two.
“I’d probably say that about all the young black lads … it’s about going back to basics, working hard, and doing the right things.”
A BBC spokesperson confirmed Ramage, a freelance pundit, has been dropped by the broadcaster.
“Craig Ramage made unacceptable comments in a podcast yesterday which have been removed,” said
“We will no longer be working with Craig.”
As a player, Ramage represented a number of English clubs including Watford and Notts County. He made over 40 appearances for Derby and retired from football in 2001.
“I wish to apologise unreservedly for a comment that I made after yesterday’s game,” Ramage wrote on Twitter Sunday.
“What I said was wholly inappropriate and unintentional. Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing and I deeply regret what I said. I sincerely hope that the players accept my apology.
“I would like to reiterate my heartfelt apology not only to the players but also the fans that have listened to me over the past seven years and also to those that followed me throughout my career.
“I would like to reinforce that this error in no way reflects my personal views.”
Derby released a statement Sunday saying: “We have been in contact with the BBC throughout the day and underline that we do not in any way condone any form of discrimination.
“We take comments like these extremely seriously, we do not tolerate them, and stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players.”
Derby is 13th in the Championship, the second tier of English football, having lost last year’s playoff final to gain promotion to the Premier League.