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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 22:01 GMT
TV pundit sacked for tsunami joke
Rodney Marsh
Marsh appeared on live phone-in programme You're on Sky Sports
Football pundit Rodney Marsh has been fired by Sky Sports for making a joke on air about the tsunami disaster.

The ex-Manchester City striker, 60, joked David Beckham had turned down a move to Newcastle United because of trouble with the "Toon Army in Asia".

A Sky Sports spokesman said: "These remarks should never have been made and Sky would like to offer its apologies to those who were offended."

Marsh said: "I am hugely disappointed in myself for letting them down."

"Toon Army" is a term used by Newcastle's fans to describe themselves.

Live phone-in

Marsh made the comments during a live phone-in programme, You're on Sky Sports, on Monday.

A spokesman for the channel described the joke as "offensive and inexcusable".

My intention was to make a light-hearted football joke
Rodney Marsh

"An apology was made within the programme and Rodney's comments were edited and removed from later transmissions," he said.

Marsh, who also played for Fulham and is known for his outspoken views on football, insisted he did not intend to offend viewers.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence I caused by my thoughtless and inappropriate comment I made last night," he said.

"My intention was to make a light-hearted football joke."

Was Sky Sports right to fire Rodney Marsh? Please use the form below to send us your comment and views.

Your comments:

Sky TV has lost one of its most entertaining pundits
Leighton Upson, Nottingham
Yes Rodney's comment was out of turn, but to be sacked was a massive over-reaction. Sky TV has lost one of its most entertaining pundits, all of its football programmes will be poorer for Rodney's absence. I was disturbed by the Asian tsunami and have indeed donated to many of it's appeals, but I took no offence from the remarks whatsoever.
Leighton Upson, Nottingham

This is another example political correctness. If we carry on like this we will have to ban commentary and punditry all together to avoid the risk of offending someone.
Eric, Bromley

When is the penny going to drop with some people that some times some jokes are just not appropriate? It's really not rocket science, and its not political correctness - it's about having some thought for others before your own self gratification
Ken, Bournemouth, UK

This sacking is the stupid kind of knee-jerk PC reaction I have come to expect from this country.
Chris D, Harrogate

Rodney's mouth often works quicker than his brain, especially in his haste to appear witty. That's all this was, a thoughtless off-the-cuff moment not a deep rooted point of view. Sky Sports is the poorer for their ridiculous knee-jerk reaction.
Richard Francis, Exmouth, Devon

A good commentator, a stupid stupid joke, but isn't this correctness gone wrong? Are we going to rule out "you bombed our chippy" type jokes for the same reason? We are risking a society where everything we say needs to be censored and where does that leave Freedom of Speech? A public apology and a reprimand; nothing more.
Paul, York, UK

It is absolutely ridiculous that it is a straight sacking
Phil, Swadlincote
These pundits spend hours talking on Sky Sport (six hours on a Saturday) so every now and again one of them is going to make a slip. It is absolutely ridiculous that it is a straight sacking. The worst he should have got was his fee being given to the relief fund for a certain amount of time. I will miss him on a Saturday. Shame on Sky Sport.
Phil, Swadlincote, England

I thought the joke was poking fun at David Beckham and his assumed low IQ rather than at the expense of the Asia earthquake victims. Either way, while it may have been crass or a little tasteless, this was not a red card offence.
Christian James, London

The butt of the so called joke was Beckham and his intelligence rather than the victims of the disaster. Having said that it was an inappropriate comment.
Jules, London

What on earth is this country coming to? Black humour can be a useful way of salvaging sanity out of impossible situations and bringing a smile to people's faces in an otherwise awful situation. Okay this is a little bit removed but where do we stop with this sort of knee jerk reaction? Are the thought police out there already?

Another case of western political correctness going awry and gagging in the name of the popular vote.
Michael Odeloyinbo, Lagos, Nigeria

Making such a remark so soon after the tragedy was ridiculous and unprofessional. If you work on television you have a responsibility, and he should have known what the consequences would be.
David Emery, Exeter, Devon

Sackable offence - no chance. The joke was, at worst, tasteless, and in a nation that pays such high regard to television like Big Brother it is more than a little hypocritical to beat the guy up about it.
Neil, Eastleigh, Hants

When you are in a position of power
Krishan Patroo, London
What a stupid, thoughtless thing to say. I was not laughing when I heard this joke, and I can't imagine how Rodney Marsh thought that others would. When are these pundits going to realise than when you are in a position of power, you have to choose your words very carefully.
Krishan Patroo, London, UK

I think this was a disgrace, his so-called joke would bring back hurt to those people that was hurt and those who lost loves ones, it was right to sack him.
Mr Kelly, Thailand

Sky over reacted, tabloid channel with a tabloid response.
Ken Patterson, Bristol, UK

I think it is a disgrace to have Rodney Marsh sacked. A light hearted joke has been taken literally too far - there will come a time where we will be afraid to say anything without living in fear of losing our livelihood...
John, Coventry

No Rodney Marsh was good at his job and made a light hearted joke. I don't think anybody who saw it was offended and is another example of PC gone mad.
Chris McQuiggin, Shrewsbury

I would have thought an apology and a sizable donation by Marsh to the tsunami charity would have been more appropriate. Indeed it seems it's acceptable for the BBC to spell out the (so-called) joke on this web site yet insulting for Marsh to have said it. A case of double standards I believe?
Richard Branch, Maidenhead, UK

I agree that the joke made was irresponsible but I don't think he should have been sacked for it. A good telling off or a fine of two weeks wages would have been enough!
Lee, Hampton

Although I understand that Sky were in an impossible position, not firing him would have led to public outcry, I still feel that considering he has apologised so quickly he's been hard done by. Hopefully we'll be seeing him again onscreen soon, perhaps on another show or channel.
Kristopher Welsh, Lancaster, UK

Bit of s silly thing to say, especially after Ron Atkinson was sacked in similar circumstances not so long ago but essentially, I don't think he has really hurt too many people. I have heard more offensive jokes and I am sure I will hear more in future. Let him make a grovelling apology and a sizable donation to the fund and maybe then they consider giving him his job back.
Colin, Fife, Scotland

Rodney Marsh should be fired, if he's prepared to make sick jokes on live TV then he should be able to accept the consequences.
Jim Grey, Northants

This obnoxious man is trying to trivialize his actions. Imagine if tsunami happened in the UK - would he think of making such a joke?
Pat Sumners, England

Absolutely right that he was fired. In many ways it's more shameful than Ron Atkinson as here he is making fun at the expense of hundreds of thousands of people's lives who have been devastated by the disaster. Just who did he think would laugh at that !
Albert, Herts, UK

Joke was wrong. Apology was right. Sacking, rather than a reprimand is Political Correctness going too far. Sometimes it is good to lighten the mood of devastating situations to help people through. The joke I understand was on Beckham, not the victims.
Gertrude Gorillatella, Barrow, Cumbria

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