Darts legend Eric Bristow has been sacked by sky sports. It comes after the former champion commented on Twitter regarding the ongoing sexual abuse allegations in the football world. The player turned commentator alleged that the the former footballers at the centre of the storm were not “proper men” for not going back as an adult and “sort out” their abuser.
One of the men abused, former Crewe player Steve Walters described Bristow’s comments as making him feel “disgusted”. He’s one of many former players who have now waived their right to anonymity in order to speak out to the news media about the case, and in order to ideally prevent any potential similar problems for youth players in the future.
So far it doesn’t appear to be a systemic problem in the sport, but as more former players come forward, that situation may well change. With men feeling potentially emboldened by coming forward in groups. As happened with the historic abuse claims against deceased television personality Jimmy Saville.
Five police forces are now involved in the wide ranging investigation that spreads as far south as London’s metropolitan police to as Northern as Northumbria police. Most of the allegations are revolved around former scout Barry Bennell who previously served a custodial sentence for abuse crimes.
Bennell himself was taken to hospital this weekend after being found unconscious. The details haven’t been released by police. He had moved from his normal residence after the news had broken. He was found unconscious at an unknown address in Stevenage.
The former darts champion Bristow has described footballers as “wimps” while describing his fellow darts players as “tough guys”. He had also inferred a link between paedophile’s and homosexuals in his now deleted twitter rants.
Duncan Craig of Manchester charity survivors Manchester has purportedly reported Bristow to the police for what he has determined to constitute a “hate crime”. The charity which supports male survivors of abuse has now installed former player, and one of the abused Steve Walters as an Ambassador for the charity. Craig said Bristow’s rant in saying “his comments are absolutely appalling”
He also describes what many know, that men are unlikely to come forward due to a perceived prejudice that they will receive from other men. Comments like Bristow’s will only serve to enforce that belief. They also may push future survivors to not report crimes due to such ill judged comments.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.