Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Biting Back: Paris romance for David Beckham and Sky Sports

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 02:  David Beckham (R) of PSG shakes hands with Lionel Messi of Barcelona ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona FCB at Parc des Princes on April 2, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 02: David Beckham (R) of PSG shakes hands with Lionel Messi of Barcelona ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona FCB at Parc des Princes on April 2, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Sky Sports had billed it as "David Beckham's moment of reckoning." And afterwards they labelled it "Becks' finest hour."

Allow me to take you back to the final day of La Liga's 2006-7 season, when Real Madrid – or, rather "David Beckham's Real Madrid" (© Sky Sports) had to beat Mallorca to land their 30th league title.

This they duly did, 3-1, and each subsequent bulletin on Sky Sports News began with pictures of Goldenballs celebrating that aforementioned Finest Hour.

The breathless Sky presenters somehow omitted to mention that, while Beckham was on the pitch, a flat-footed Real went 1-0 down and looked like blowing their big opportunity.

Then Fabio Capello replaced the Englishman with ex-Arsenal star José Antonio Reyes – who scored twice – and the rest, as they say, is Bernabeu history.

Unperturbed by the facts getting in the way of a good story, Sky were at it again on Tuesday, leading their late bulletins with the fact that Beckham had started for Paris St Germain against Barcelona, rather than the thrilling PSG fightback (again, after Becks had been removed from the action) which resulted in a 2-2 draw.

And apparently he was terrific (although those churlish French journos at L'Equipe awarded him only 3 out of 10; sacre bleu!).

We all know Beckham is a shameless publicity hound, but what's even more shameless is some of the fact-bending and sugar-coated prose that passes for sports broadcasting these days. Viewers don't deserve to have their intelligence insulted like that.

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