John Inverdale to open new 3GX pitch at University of Kent Canterbury campus
Sport pundit John Inverdale is set to come to the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus to open the new Kent Sport 3GX pitch.
This decision by Kent Sport has sparked controversy among many students, who feel that comments previously made by Inverdale on Twitter show that he is not a suitable person to be opening the pitch.
Inverdale got heavily criticised in July 2013 after making comments on BBC 5 Live during the Wimbledon Ladies Final about one of the finalists, the French player, Marion Bartoli. He said: “I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe ‘Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you’re never going to be 5ft 11, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it,’ and she kind of is.”
Inverdale has since seen contracts with the BBC reduced, due to the backlash from people calling his comments about Bartoli “sexist and patronising”.
Indeed, Kent Union Vice-President (Sport), Nina Mehmi, agrees that Inverdale is a poor choice of personality to open the new 3GX pitch for Kent Sport.
Mehmi said: “It is a great disappointment to hear that John Inverdale has been invited to our campus, he displays many values in sport that we actively campaign against. His sexist and offence remarks towards women in sport should be enough of a deterrent from inviting him onto our campus.
“We have more relevant, well known alumni of our own that we could invite to the occasion, such as Natasha Brennan, who has just played in the current England Women’s Squad in the Six Nations. I just hope that the negative press attached to John Inverdale does not now tarnish Kent’s name in sport.”
Kent Sport and the University have been asked for a quote, but have not yet given one. This story will be updated should they respond.