In Depth

Andy Murray SPOTY triumph spares BBC a Fury 'nightmare'

Tennis star romps to Sports Personality of the Year as controversial boxer comes fourth

Andy Murray was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night after what The Times calls the "most divisive" competition in the award's 61-year history.

The build-up to the event was dominated by comments from heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, who had sparked outrage with his outspoken views on homosexuality and the role of women in society.

There had been a petition calling for him to be removed from the shortlist and one of the other contenders, Greg Rutherford, had threatened to pull out of the event.

As it was "everyone was on their best behaviour" says Alice Arnold in The Guardian, and Fury even issued an apology to anyone who had "been hurt", by his comments.

Yet the organisers were doubtless relieved to see Fury come fourth and were "spared the nightmare" of seeing him take home a prize, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"Fears the outspoken 27-year-old would end up on stage with Murray in Belfast proved unfounded as rugby league star Kevin Sinfield and hepathlon queen Jessica Ennis-Hill finished second and third, respectively," says the paper.

But he still won more than 70,000 votes, notes Arnold. and those people "voted for someone who thinks it is OK to joke about violence against women", she says. "If we learn nothing else from this whole debacle it is that we still have a long way to go."

Murray scooped the award with more than 35 per cent of the vote and became only the fourth person to win the award twice, after Sir Henry Cooper, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill.

"The public were won over by Murray's emotional commitment to the Great Britain Davis Cup-winning team," says The Times.

Ennis-Hill finished in the top three for the fourth time in the last seven years, although few people expected Sinfield to finish above her.   

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