Andros Townsend Reportedly Accused of Backtracking over Roy Hodgson Monkey Joke
Graham Smart, editor of the Scottish Sun, has told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme that the England player who leaked information of Roy Hodgson's much-publicised monkey joke is annoyed at Andros Townsend for backtracking over the incident.
Per ESPN FC, Smart confirmed that his source was indeed a player and insisted that several other players were unhappy with Hodgson's comments at the time:
Smart said of his source:
He was angry about Andros Townsend tweeting the following day [to say he was not offended] because he assures me Andros was upset by it.
The following morning [after the Poland game] I got a call from an England player who wasn't very happy at all about what had gone on in the dressing room.
I said to the player, "Do you think this is a good idea to go public? Is there not another way for you to go through with this? Should you not go to the FA about this? Have you spoken to Roy?"
He said no, he wanted to go public and that he wasn't the only player who was upset. They had agreed they wanted to go public with it.
Since the incident, Townsend has described Hodgson's comments as "a compliment," per BBC Sport, while Hodgson put the misunderstanding down to a generational difference.
However, with it now emerging that the joke was only explained after Hodgson had used the phrase "feed the monkey," per Smart, it is clear where the misunderstanding occurred.
Smart is insistent there was more than one player upset with the comment, although those he has spoken to agree that the words were "taken the wrong way." Both Townsend and Wayne Rooney have insisted likewise, tweeting in the 24 hours following the incident:
I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken! It's not even news worthy!— andros townsend (@andros_townsend) October 17, 2013
Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous.— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 17, 2013
Indeed, many in the media chose to criticise the anonymous player who leaked the story, including the Mirror's Brian Reade. The latest revelations add some light to why the need was felt to go public.
The England manager's comments, while a simple misjudgment of those in the room, were poorly advised at best if not initially uttered as part of the joke.
In today's society, calling any black player "a monkey" in any context is liable to leave you open to accusations of racism—regardless of the context.
Hodgson may be of an older generation, but he is an intelligent man and will surely admit that he was initially careless with his choice of words.
However, with the FA having investigated the incident and Townsend insisting that there was no offence taken, it is now time to move on from the controversy.
Smart's comments have revived the debate several days after the initial furore. However, with all parties directly involved content to accept there was no racist intent to the comments, there is little more to be said on the matter.
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