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Jamie Carragher and 5 other pundits who courted controversy

With Jamie Carragher's spitting incident causing a storm, we look at 5 other pundits who came under fire for controversial behaviour.

Top 5 / Top 10 13 Mar 2018, 17:52 IST

West Ham United v Leicester City - Premier League
Carragher (left) has landed himself in trouble following a spitting incident

Liverpool Legend Jamie Carragher is in trouble. The former Reds and England defender turned pundit was suspended from his job with Sky Sports yesterday following the emergence of a controversial video that saw him spit through his car window at the teenage daughter of a fan who taunted him about Liverpool’s loss this weekend to Manchester United.

Carragher has since issued a public apology for the incident, but despite the likes of Gary Neville – and even the family of the girl he spat at – suggesting the issue was a mistake and the pundit should be able to remain in his job, it’s anyone’s guess whether Sky will decide to sack him or not.

After all, if he continues in his role, how can he criticise the behaviour of players on the pitch when he’s shown himself capable of behaviour like this off it? It’s a tricky situation that Sky will have to deal with in the upcoming days.

Unfortunately for the game of football, Carragher isn’t the first pundit or commentator to find himself in trouble following controversial behaviour. Here are five other examples.

#1 Ron Atkinson

Ron Atkinson was fired by ITV following allegations of racism
Ron Atkinson was fired by ITV following allegations of racism

A successful manager in the 80’s and 90’s with sides like West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Aston Villa, ‘Big’ Ron Atkinson was one of the most widely recognised characters in football a few years ago due to his colourful personality, perma-tan and loud jewellery.

In 2004 though, Atkinson found himself caught up in some serious controversy that was enough to cost him his job with ITV.

Atkinson had been a pundit and commentator for the channel for years at that stage, largely featuring in ITV’s coverage of the Champions League, usually as the co-commentator alongside Clive Tyldesley.

He became known for some odd phrases such as “early doors” and “bagatelle football”, but made his biggest gaffe during the 2004 Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and Monaco.

Believing he was off-air, Atkinson discussed the under-performance of Chelsea’s French defender Marcel Desailly and quipped “he’s what is known in some schools as a f*cking thick lazy n*gger”.

The dialogue was caught by microphones that the broadcast team believed were switched off, and with the game being shown worldwide, Atkinson’s slur was heard in places such as Dubai and Egypt.

Just days later, Atkinson was forced to resign, stating that he’d made a “stupid mistake”. It was an unfortunate end to Big Ron’s career with ITV, and the stench of racism has followed him ever since, despite his consistent denials of being racist and references to his signing of black players for West Brom in the 1980’s as evidence of this. 

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