London (AFP) – TV pundit and former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher blamed a “moment of madness” after he was caught on camera spitting towards a 14-year-old girl in a moving car.
In footage widely shown on British media, Carragher is seen winding down the window of his car and spitting at another vehicle following Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United on Saturday.
Reports said that some of Carragher’s spit hit the face of the girl, who was sitting in the passenger seat. A male voice can be heard saying “unlucky Jamie lad, 2-1!” before Carragher spits.
Carragher, 40, apologised to the family and later said his behaviour had been “unacceptable” although he insisted he had not seen the girl in the front of the car.
“I’ll speak to the family again. I’m sorry. I’ll apologise again today (Monday) properly,” said Carragher.
“I didn’t to be honest (see the girl), she was leant back. I wish she wasn’t involved. I hate that she was involved more than anything.”
British broadcaster Sky Sports announced Carragher — who is known for his charity work — had been suspended from his punditry job adding his actions were “well below the standards we expect of our people”.
“It was almost an out-of-body thing but you can’t ever behave like that, it’s unacceptable,” he told Sky News on Monday.
“A moment of madness for four or five seconds. No matter what the circumstances you can’t ever behave like that.
“My biggest regret is for the 14-year-old girl to be caught in the middle of it.
“That devastates me more than anything. I’ve got a daughter exactly the same age and I can’t say how I’d react if someone did that to her.”
Carragher said the incident did not represent “the real me”.
“I have brought shame on the name of football. I was a role model, people looked up to me,” he said.
Gary Neville — with whom Carragher has formed a highly-regarded punditry duet — said this was an “isolated incident” and hoped he would be able to continue in his role.
“I’ve just watched Carra23 say sorry. No excuses he’s made a big mistake,” tweeted former Manchester United star Neville.
“He’s massively passionate about football and he’s overstepped the mark and shouldn’t have reacted.
“I’ve been on TV for 3 years with him and this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”