Today, Sunderland manager David Moyes has publicly responded to a newly released video in which he can be heard saying “You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman” to BBC reporter Vicki Sparks after a postgame interview from a couple weeks ago.
The video, below, shows the moments immediately following the conclusion of Sparks’s interview with Moyes after Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley on March 18. Her final question to Moyes, the one that apparently bothered him, was whether the manager felt any additional pressure to perform because Sunderland’s owner was in attendance. Moyes replied, “No.” Then, this:
The last thing he said to Sparks as she walked away was “Be careful the next time you come in.”
Here’s what Moyes had to say about the incident today after the video was made public, as reported in the Telegraph:
“There will be anger about this and I deeply regret what I’ve done,” said Moyes. “‘It was the heat of the moment. The business we’re in, sometimes you only have seconds to think and answer. So, you know, it was the wrong thing to do.
“I have said that I regret it. I have spoken to the girl, who I apologised to, and she accepted it. I rang her on the Monday morning, she was fine and accepted it.”
The Telegraph’s report says that it was Moyes who initiated the apology, and that he also informed members of the club’s board of what he said right after it happened.
Unable to completely avoid putting his foot in his mouth even in apology, Moyes offered a Trumpian defense of himself from potential accusations that the incident with Sparks is evidence that he is anti-women in the sport:
“I don’t see it as being something which is in my character. It is something which is out of character. As I said, I’ve apologised to the girl.
“I think if you look at my history, I have actually been one of the biggest ones campaigning for women’s football. I tried to make sure we had Everton Ladies. At Manchester United, I was very keen on them having one.
“My daughter played for Preston until she was 19. I actually think to ask about ladies football and myself, you’re asking the wrong person. I’ve always been totally supportive.”
Moyes’s behavior toward Sparks was deeply shitty, and his claimed support for women’s soccer has nothing to do with how deeply shitty it is to threaten, even jokingly, a reporter who did absolutely nothing wrong. At least Moyes probably won’t get many more opportunities to interact with Sparks in the near future, unless Sparks’s duties also include performing tunnel interviews down in the Championship.