Sky Sports suspend Jamie Carragher for rest of season
Sky Sports have suspended football pundit Jamie Carragher until the end of the season.
The former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was suspended after the 40-year-old admitted spitting at a teenage girl in a car was “four or five seconds of madness”.
In a video of the incident, the 14-year-old’s father repeatedly mentioned the scoreline of Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Saturday and the former player is heard to say “All right”, before appearing to spit at the car alongside his.
Carragher apologised to the family and stressed he will try to do so again in person.
Sky on Wednesday said they would sit down with Carragher and discuss his return ahead of the new season.
A Sky Sports spokesman said: "Following an internal review, Sky has suspended Jamie Carragher for the remainder of the football season.
"Jamie has taken full responsibility for what has happened and we will ensure he gets the help he needs to guarantee something like this never happens again.
"Before the start of the next season we will sit down with Jamie to discuss whether he is ready to return to his role."
There have been calls - from the man who filmed the incident - for the broadcaster not to sack its pundit.
Carragher has expressed regret both privately and publicly and admits he has no explanation for his actions.
“You can’t condone that behaviour. No matter what the circumstances, you cannot ever behave like that, it is just unacceptable,” he told Sky News.
“Watching those clips back it feels like an out-of-body thing, that moment of madness for four or five seconds.
“I have no excuse and it is devastating for the family involved and my own family – but it is my actions which have brought that on.
“My biggest regret – there are lots at what has happened – but certainly the biggest one is for a 14-year-old girl to be caught in the middle of an altercation with her father.
“That has devastated me more than anything. This is a bad stain on my character and my career.”
Asked what kind of message it sent out he added: “A poor message. Not just being in the game of football, it is a poor message for everyone out there.
“It is the lowest of the low. All I can do is apologise and try to get back to being the person I am.”
Carragher, who has not offered his resignation, was asked a number of times whether he thought he should keep his job.
The former centre-back, who became clearly emotional when speaking about his own teenage daughter, did make a case for being able to continue.
“It is not my decision,” he said.
“There is no doubt what I have done is disgusting. I apologise for it and am getting vilified – and rightly so.
“I am speaking to people at Sky and working at the best way forward. They have made it be known they are very disappointed and I understand that.
“I have brought shame on the name of Sky.
“Hopefully I can show people over these next days and weeks the real me and hopefully a moment of madness will not cloud their judgement.
“What I would hope, not just for Sky, but for the public who have known me in the public eye for almost 25 years since I was playing, is five seconds of madness would not take over everything.
“All I can do now is apologise. Hopefully they accept that and I’d like to apologise again.
“There is not a lot I can add except improving my actions.”
Carragher’s Sky colleague and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville tweeted his support.
“I’ve just watched Carra23 say sorry. No excuses he’s made a big mistake. He’s massively passionate about football and he’s overstepped the mark and shouldn’t have reacted,” he wrote.
“I’ve been on TV for 3 years with him and imo this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch branded Carragher’s behaviour “disgusting” and said Sky Sports were right to suspend him.
“I think spitting is disgusting full stop,” she told Press Association Sport at the Checkatrade EFL Community Club of the Year Awards.
“So I think it’s right Sky Sports have taken the action. I know he’s apologised, he’s right to apologise, it was absolutely disgusting.
“He has said himself he’s a father and he wouldn’t be happy with someone spitting at his daughter.
“It’s right to apologise and Sky Sports are right to have taken the decision they have.”