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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 22 April 2021

'It's the equivalent of racism and sexism' - Kevin Kilbane hits out at David Haye for 'retards' slur

The ex-Ireland international criticised the boxing star for calling fans the derogatory term.

Kevin Kilbane (file pic).
Kevin Kilbane (file pic).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Kevin Kilbane has strongly criticised British boxing star David Haye for his use of the derogatory term “retards”.

At an event to promote his upcoming fight with Tony Bellew, Haye called fans in his opponent’s native city of Liverpool “retards” amid a heated press conference in which the two fighters exchanged insults.

Kilbane, who has a daughter with Down Syndrome and has worked with various organisations on behalf of people with disabilities including Down Syndrome Ireland, says the boxing star’s choice of words was unacceptable.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball show, Kilbane said: “These are the sort of terms, in this day and age, certainly with how we’ve gone on racism, how we’ve gone on sexism, this is the sort of language that is disgraceful.

“I understand gamesmanship and the hype that goes around fights and giving each other all the abuse, we’ve seen it all now. There does seem to be genuine animosity between these two, fair enough.

But for David Haye to use the word “retard” — not just once, because he’s used it before — is premeditated. So he knows exactly what he’s saying.”

The retired footballer continued: “No one’s actually correcting him to tell him about the severity of using that word. You think ‘come on mate, you’re representing a sport, you’re representing yourself’. For a man to stand up and use that term is disgraceful.

The word ‘mong’ has been used over the years as well. These sort of terms are the equivalent of racism and sexism. And I don’t care what anybody says — it’s exactly the same. These sort of terms should be wiped out, they’re totally unacceptable. For David Haye to use that word, it’s outrageous. I was disgusted when I heard it today.

“(It’s upsetting) for the people with disabilities. They have feelings. They know what’s being said about them… I don’t think he actually realises what he’s said. It’s total ignorance and a lack of respect for people with disabilities.”

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