London (AFP) – Sunderland manager David Moyes said Monday he never once thought of resigning over his “slap” remark to a female reporter and does not believe it will cost him his job.
As the Football Association announce it was “seeking observations” from Sunderland regarding the incident, Moyes apologised for comments he made to BBC Radio Five reporter Vicki Sparks after a goalless Premier League draw at home to Burnley on March 18.
Moyes, speaking to national newspapers in a pre-match press conference ahead of basement club Sunderland’s trip to champions Leicester City on Tuesday, was asked if he had thought of resigning.
“No, never a consideration,” replied the 53-year-old Scot, who had already apologised privately to Sparks.
With both Sunderland owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain having been aware of what happened for some time, Moyes was confident the incident would not lead to his exit from the northeast club.
“Yes. I don’t see it as being something which is in my character. It is something which is out of character. As I said, I have apologised to the girl.”
Sparks had asked if Short’s presence at the Burnley game meant Moyes was under additional pressure, with the Black Cats again involved in a battle against relegation.
Video footage published by the Daily Star newspaper showed Moyes replying, “No, none at all” before the interview concluded.
However, the former Everton and Manchester United manager, believing he was off camera, added: “You were just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there, so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman.
“Careful the next time you come in.”
– ‘Inexcusable’ –
Both Moyes and Sparks were seen laughing at this point and the reporter herself did not make a complaint.
“In the heat of the moment, I made a mistake in my comments to a BBC reporter, which I profoundly regret,” said Moyes at his press conference. “I was disappointed with myself for it.
“I subsequently phoned the reporter and apologised, which she accepted. It’s not my character, it’s not my type, as most people know and once again, I apologise for it.”
Asked if he was sexist, Moyes replied: “No. I think people who know me would say that and as I said in the heat of the moment, I used the wrong words.”
Former England striker turned television football broadcaster Gary Lineker was among those who took to Twitter on Monday to criticise Moyes’s behaviour, saying: “Moyes incident highlights a tendency for some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job. Well rewarded. Inexcusable.”
Meanwhile Britain’s Women in Football, an umbrella group for women working in and around football, including female journalists, responded Monday by urging England’s governing Football Association to help rid the game of sexism by “educating” managers.
“We are deeply disappointed and concerned by the threatening language used by Sunderland manager David Moyes towards BBC reporter, Vicki Sparks,” said a WIF statement. “We are calling on the FA to help educate football managers against this type of behaviour.”
A Sunderland spokesman said earlier Monday: “David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably.”
The BBC added the matter had been resolved, with a spokesman saying: “Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology.”