Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

RTE moves to silence pundit Joe Brolly after 'Baywatch babe' tweet

Row: Joe Brolly
Row: Joe Brolly
Sky's GAA presenter Rachel Wyse
Sky's GAA presenter Rachel Wyse

Outspoken RTE pundit Joe Brolly has been ordered not to make any more controversial remarks after he branded Sky Sports' new GAA presenter Rachel Wyse a “Baywatch babe”.

The Sunday Game pundit yesterday apologised for his “crass” remarks on Twitter after he was inundated with a barrage of angry comments criticising him.

The All-Star forward and former All-Ireland champion with Derry had tweeted: “SKY = TV3 plus Baywatch babe”.

He added further fuel to the fire by later tweeting: “Sky's entrenched beautiful anchor formula is shamelessly sexist, designed for their overwhelmingly male audience. That is the point.”

And he also wrote: “It is a formula designed to titillate their largely male audience.”

Wyse (29) was this week announced as the new face of the commercial broadcaster's inaugural season of GAA coverage.

The Dubliner had been tipped to bag a presenting role as she is a presenter on Sky Sports News.

The GAA's decision to sell television rights to Sky Sports has been heavily criticised by fans here, as well as former players like Brolly.

But after users of the social network tweeted at Brolly saying his remarks were unfair, he later apologised and said they were not a criticism of Ms Wyse's abilities as a broadcaster.

“Rachel, I apologise for the remark about a ‘Baywatch babe’. It was not meant to be personal but it was crass and wrong of me,” he tweeted yesterday.

Sky's GAA presenter Rachel Wyse
Sky's GAA presenter Rachel Wyse

“It was no reflection on your abilities as a presenter or at least I didn't mean it to be. I apologise. It will not be repeated.”

Sky Sports then criticised Brolly for his comments but welcomed his apology.

“We were disappointed with his views and we note that he has subsequently apologised. Rachel is a highly-experienced journalist who will play a key part in our GAA coverage,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

In response to media queries, RTE, which employs Brolly as a Gaelic football expert, said “the views expressed by Joe Brolly are not those of RTE and he has been asked to desist from making such comments”.

The only comment by Ms Wyse on Twitter was to respond to someone telling her about Mr Brolly’s remarks. “I'm well aware of his remarks over the past few weeks,” she wrote.

Sky TV's move into the world of GAA brings a fresh challenge to RTE's team that includes an all-male team of Pat Spillane, Colm O'Rourke, Michael Lyster and Brolly.

Sky will broadcast 14 matches exclusively on its pay-per-view channel while it also secured non-exclusive rights to the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals.

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