Chuka Umunna: People would be more outraged if Tyson Fury’s comments were racist
Labour MP Chuka Umunna has become the latest figure to call for boxer Tyson Fury to be dropped from the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.
Heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury has controversially been nominated for the BBC award after claiming that homosexuality and paedophilia will bring about the apocalypse.
The boxer has simultaneously stood by his comments and denied being homophobic – while also claiming that sex with children was legalised by a fictional ‘Gay Rights Act 1977’.
Speaking on the BBC’s Any Questions, former Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna became the latest figure to speak out against the boxer.
He said: “When you’re competing at sport at the highest levels, you’re not just engaging in your sport.
“With that comes a responsibility because you’re a public figure, and whether you like it or not, you are a role model.
“With Tyson Fury, his views are sexist, they are homophobic. I don’t want him being put up as a role model, in light of those views.
That’s very differeny from arguing about if he gets the belt for winning his contest. We are talking about the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
“My worry is if this is allowed to carry on, at best it amounts to turning a blind eye to the things he has said and the offence that he has caused, and at worst it could be interpreted as condoning it. I don’t think that that is right.”
After journalist Isabel Oakeshott said she was “not offended” by his comments and Tory MP Dominic Grieve said Fury is entitled to his views without being disqualified, Mr Umunna added: “This is not about banning him from expressing a view.
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“We are not talking about whether he can say what he wants to say, we’re talking about whether he should receive an accolade which is linked to his personality and what he said.
“I find all of these ‘isms that we have extremely offensive – sexism to Islamaphobia.
“Just think – if he had made racist comments, and made those comments about people of colour, I think it would have generated a slightly more outraged reaction… I think it’s wrong.”
The MP also said that US Presidential candidate Donald Trump would be “not welcome” in his constituency, after his divisive comments.
Mr Umunna was briefly a contender for the Labour Party leadership earlier this year, but withdrew from the contest in May.
After Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, the MP opted to leave the shadow cabinet and return to the back-benches.