Hill backs Big Ron13 May 2004

UK football pundit Jimmy Hill has launched an astonishing defence of Ron Atkinson’s recent on-air racist abuse of Chelsea’s Marcel Desailly. He claims that Ron’s racist insults are just “Fun” between footballers.

The former BBC “Match of the Day” presenter said, “In that context, you wouldn't think that words like ‘n****r’ were particularly insulting: it would be funny. Without meaning to insult any black men, it's us having fun. What about people who make jokes about my long chin? I mean, n****r is black – so we have jokes where we call them n****rs because they're black. Why should that be any more of an offence than someone calling me chinny?”

Hill, now in his 70’s and a presenter on Sky Sports, is the first major football figure to defend Atkinson’s “Lazy f***ing n****r” comments. Although other personalities have offered support to Ron himself, none have defended what he actually said.

Piara Power of FARE partner Kick It Out described Hill’s comments as “mind boggling” and out of touch with today's footballers. He added: ”Jimmy Hill's comments are as offensive as Ron Atkinson's. It is a frightening insight into some of the attitudes his generation still hold. That is defending the indefensible. We have fought for many years to have language like this banned.”

For details of Ron Atkinson’s on-air racist slur: