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Tyson Fury row: Olympic star Greg Rutherford admits he pulled out of Spoty

BBC persuaded athlete to stay on shortlist

By Claire Williamson

Published 09/12/2015

Glory, glory: Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning gold in the long jump at the World Championships in Beijing
Glory, glory: Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning gold in the long jump at the World Championships in Beijing

Olympic star Greg Rutherford has admitted that he wrote to the BBC asking to be left out of the Sports Personality of the Year awards following the inclusion of Tyson Fury on the shortlist.

Rutherford joined the public outcry over Tyson Fury's controversial comments branding them "outdated and derogatory".

The Belfast Telegraph revealed on Wednesday that Rutherford told the BBC he was considering withdrawing if Fury stayed on the shortlist.

In statement on Wednesday afternoon Rutherford said: "I can confirm that reports that I am withdrawing from the ceremony are not true."

However just over an hour later he posted a series of tweets suggesting he had pulled out of Spoty only to be persuaded by the BBC to stay on.

He said: "I have opinions, of which I was privately clear. I DID pull out of Spoty, on Sunday I wrote to the BBC requesting removal.

“Throughout the next 2 days the Spoty team asked me to stay on. Also, I realised my nomination meant so much to my family.

“I then asked myself, do I really want to disappoint my own family just because of a bigot’s views? The answer was no.

“Next thing I know, someone leaks my withdrawal request and the private decision I’ve made suddenly changes to something much bigger.

“So, I will still attend Spoty, to make my family proud and to thank them for the support in my career, and that’s what I plan to do.

“AND, I’m mega keen to meet Tyson Fury’s riveting, personality-filled little toe.”

The SPOTY awards have been embroiled in controversy following the decision to put the new heavyweight champion on the shortlist.

Fury has been at the centre of a media storm after making controversial comments about homosexuality, abortion and women.

He has defended the remarks saying he was repeating scripture and they were not his views.

Greg Rutherford was nominated for Sports Personality after winning gold at the World Championships in Beijing earlier this year.

Last night, a petition calling for the BBC to remove him from the shortlist passed 110,000 signatures.

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