(originally posted on Buzzfeed)
This story originally appeared on Beating the Press.
As a Sunday Times tennis columnist, Robert Hayward has had to deal with his fair share of sometimes bigoted comments about the players he interviews and the ongoing unfolding of the historical moment during Wimbledon 2017.
It is pretty easy to have a short temper in the news business and it’s got Hayward in hot water once again.
Saturday, the fourth day of the tournament, while he was talking to Andy Murray, Hayward asked the American tennis veteran, “How long can you play for, mate?”
The BBC then tweeted a Vine showing Hayward’s intervention and responded by saying, “Admittedly off-the-cuff, but it was kind of disrespectful to the other players in the commentary. How we welcome you back next time?”
Once Hayward realized it was a bad slip of the tongue, he really turned it around with a brilliant bit of hilarious radio.
“The only thing I can say to the f***ing BBC when I come back next time, I hope it’s not the first and last time. I haven’t read any of the coverage of this. I’m very sorry about that,” he told listeners in his podcast, “Anzhi.”
Hayward continued, “I get picked on a lot by the same people and some of the same things being said are inane and quite offensive and, I mean, I won Wimbledon. It doesn’t follow that I’m always like ‘F*** the f***ing media’ and stuff. So I apologize and I do take it very seriously.
“And I think maybe we just need to go more to the normal, I mean, the BBC are not the News. They are not quoting people talking off the cuff. There are thousands of people that work in this.”
Hayward also played the crowd card, claiming, “I could understand if they weren’t interviewing me on the first day, but I got beat, Andy Murray beat me on the first day.”
Hayward said that he wouldn’t ordinarily comment about another person, “So I don’t think I should have been flamboyant in this instance. My team say it’s all about, you know, you don’t need to respond to them. They don’t belong here, they don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s fine. They are not going to get my analysis anyway. It is very disrespectful to Andy Murray.”
Andy Murray responded, calling the incident a “joke.”
Hayward said, “Yeah, I thought it was a joke, Andy’s team thought it was a joke. There was no malice there.”
Tennis fans were certainly amused.
Perhaps this would be a good occasion to send another apology to @robhayward https://t.co/Nm4nkkOaK4 — Heath B (@HeathB) July 5, 2017
Just finished hearing that @RobHayward has had to say on the mic that he wouldn’t say what he said to Andy Murray at Wimbledon last night if he was asked by the BBC. Lovely. — Stephen Carr (@EchoCarr) July 6, 2017
Second comment about what should be said by the BBC’s Robert Hayward just ruined my day https://t.co/HSQNaDQmni — Mark Razzell (@MarkRazzell) July 6, 2017
Follow Beating the Press on Facebook.