In Brief

Eric Bristow dropped by Sky over child abuse tweets

Broadcaster acts after former darts world champion suggests abuse victims are not 'proper men'

Sky Sports have sacked former darts world champion Eric Bristow after he posted a series of tweets suggesting footballers sexually abused by coaches were not "proper men".

"He was a contributor to our darts coverage in the past but we will not be using him in the future," said the broadcaster.

Bristow sparked outrage on Monday night with his tweets about the historical sex abuse scandal. Among the messages, which have since been deleted, was one reading:  "If some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out."

He later posted a clarification: "Sorry meant paedo not poof."

However, Bristow continued what The Independent calls an "ill-advised Twitter rant", declaring: "Dart players tough guys footballers wimps". He followed that with: "Bet the rugby boys are ok ha ha."

The 59-year-old Londoner then poured more fuel on the fire by insisting darts players were "proper men" and appeared to suggest that unless the victims of child abuse exacted retribution on their abuser, they could not "look in the mirror".

Only one message remained online on Tuesday morning.

Steve Walters, one of the footballers who has spoken out about the abuse he suffered at the hands of coach Barry Bennell, said he was "disgusted" by Bristow's remarks.

Former England rugby player Brian Moore also responded to Bristow's comments, stating: "Ignorance is no excuse for this idiocy."

However, the commentator added he was sad Bristow had lost his Sky job. "I don't support people being sacked for views I don't like, even if abhorrent," he wrote. 

Others have been less generous to the former darts champion. "Where to even begin. Crude homophobia mixed with shaming survivors of child abuse as 'wimps'," writes Owen Jones in The Guardian. "What Bristow's tweets underline is a toxic form of unreconstructed masculinity, and the damage that it inflicts."

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