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Eric Bristow apologises for 'footballers wimps' tweet amid sex abuse scandal

Published 30/11/2016

Darts champion Eric Bristow sparked outrage after he commented on the football abuse scandal on social media
Darts champion Eric Bristow sparked outrage after he commented on the football abuse scandal on social media

Former world darts champion Eric Bristow has apologised for suggesting that football sex abuse victims were "wimps" after being angrily confronted live on television by a campaigner.

Marilyn Hawes, founder of Enough Abuse UK, which campaigns to reduce child sexual abuse, branded Bristow a bully and described him as "the most deeply offensive man to breathe oxygen".

After his appearance on ITV's Good Morning Britain, it emerged that Bristow had asked to be paid to interviewed about his views which included writing on Twitter: "Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out."

He added: "Dart players tough guys footballers wimps."

The BBC said it had declined to pay Bristow £5,000 plus VAT for an interview on the Victoria Derbyshire Programme, prompting a statement from the ex-darts player that "any monies offered or received for any interviews with me will be donated in full to a relevant charity".

During the ITV interview, Ms Hawes told Bristow: "If I had a set of darts I would stick them where the sun don't shine."

He was also berated by host Piers Morgan, who called on the Crafty Cockney to apologise.

Bristow responded: "It was worded wrong. I apologise, it was a miswording. They're not wimps."

He told Good Morning Britain he wanted young children to speak out if they were being abused: "I want youngsters now to go out and complain straight away. There's no point complaining 30 years later."

In his statement, Bristow said: "On GMB I described myself as a bull in a china shop and that has always been the case.

"It makes me furious to think that an abuser can get away with it for so long, and to so many when they should always be looking over their shoulder in fear waiting to be confronted.

"I don't use PR people to run my social account as some do, and now appreciate my wording was wrong and offended many people, when all I was doing was venting my anger at the abusers and encouraging kids to act ASAP.

"I know why I've been vilified but if one child comes forward quicker or one abuser thinks twice about the likelihood of being confronted then it will have been worth it. Any monies offered or received for any interviews with me will be donated in full to a relevant charity."

ITV declined to say whether Bristow had been paid for its interview, with a spokeswoman telling the Press Association: "We don't discuss guest contracts."

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