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BBC pundit apologises following Northern Ireland gaffe

Mark James’s insensitive quip about the latest violence in the North forced the Beeb and him into an apology.

Mark James
Mark James
Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

A BBC GOLF pundit has been forced to apologise after an off the cuff remark about the current sectarian violence problems in Northern Ireland landed him in hot water.

Mail Online reports that during the second day of play at the British Open in Sandwich yesterday, commentator Andrew Cotter remarked that the fine form of contender Darren Clarke would mean that if he followed compatriots Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in winning a major, Northern Ireland could retire as a sporting nation.

The Scottish Herald reports that James responded: “maybe they will stop fighting each other”.

Silence followed after which presenter Hazel Irvine apologised for the remark with James later adding: “I acknowledge this was not the right thing to say and I apologise for any offence caused.”

Mail Online adds that BBC said its quick response to the comment was an editorial decision rather than a response to any viewer complaints of which there were many, particularly across Twitter.

The Telegraph remarks that tact and diplomacy were not the most obvious attributes of James who captained Europe’s Ryder Cup team in 1999.

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Hugh O'Connell

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