Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BBC Wales: controversy-free for the FA Cup semi-final

The BBC is about to hand over its FA Cup semi-final broadcasting rights to ITV and Setanta, and what better way than to say goodbye with mild controversy?

Leighton James, the BBC Wales pundit scheduled to participate in the Cardiff/Barnsley broadcast, has been axed "for the foreseeable future" from his regular TV work after his most recent column in the South Wales Evening Post was published.

Why was he axed?

Because he hates Cardiff City.

There's something to be said for being partisan in the media. It rarely happens much anymore, as everyone tries desperately and unashamedly to cater to the middle [except in the murky mire of Cable 24-hour news, perhaps], and Leighton James is caught up in that mess.

His quote:

"To see Cardiff in the final would be hard to take for Swansea fans. So, to be brutally honest, I think I'm behind Barnsley on this one."
Seems fairly innocuous, and honesty's to be applauded, right?

Not so much.

James is a longtime Swansea fan who played for them in the 80s, and was referring to Barnsley manager Simon Davey, a man who was born in Swansea and who also spent three years at the club.

It didn't help James' case that he's serving a drink-driving ban currently, and that he echoed his sentiments on the commercial Real Radio station.

The BBC's rather bland comment:

"By mutual agreement, Leighton James will not be participating in any BBC Wales programmes for the foreseeable future."
Such a shame. I mean, it's not like Setanta ever uses Chelsea fans to pontificate on Arsenal games, or, better example, using Buckeye apologist Brent Musberger as a commentator on Penn State games.

BBC Wales thinks differently, but at least they can't stop Leighton James from rooting for the Tykes from the comfort of his own couch.

1 comment:

The NY Kid said...

The last time I publicly stated that I was rooting for the tykes, Chris Hanson showed up at my house.