A BBC football pundit has been taken off the air for “completely unacceptable” comments after saying “young black lads” need “pulling down a peg a two”.
Craig Ramage, a former Derby County midfielder, faced a backlash after criticism of the Sky Bet Championship club’s 1-1 home draw with Huddersfield on Saturday.
Speaking on BBC Radio Derby’s Sportscene Podcast, Ramage said: “When I look over and I look at certain players, their body language, their stance, the way they act, you just feel, ‘whoa, hold on a minute – he needs pulling down a peg or two’. So I’d probably say that about all the young black lads.”
Derby left-back Max Lowe spoke out against “racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance” on social media, while the club say they “stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players”.
BBC Derby said it was “investigating the matter thoroughly and he will not be on air until this investigation is complete”.
The club said a statement on Sunday evening: “Derby County Football Club is aware of comments made by a BBC employee after yesterday’s game against Huddersfield Town, directed specifically at a section of our young players.”
“We have been in contact with the BBC throughout the day and underline that we do not in any way condone any form of discrimination.
“We take comments like these extremely seriously, we do not tolerate them, and stand shoulder to shoulder, together as one with all our players.”
Ramage took Twitter to “apologise unreservedly”. He said: “What I said was wholly inappropriate and unintentional. Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing and I deeply regret what I said. I sincerely hope that the players accept my apology.”
Lowe, who was an unused substitute against Huddersfield, wrote on Instagram: “As a young black footballer making my way in the game, I was shocked by comments made by one of the analysts on BBC Radio Derby’s Sportscene programme.
“With the support from people I have around me – and after reading today that Raheem Sterling is to spearhead an anti-racism and anti-discrimination taskforce on behalf of players from all backgrounds – I have decided to speak out on behalf of black footballers at Derby County.
“Racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance negatively affects the image of impressionable young footballers and creates an unnecessary divide in society.
“I am also disappointed that a public service broadcaster did not step in to ask the analyst to explain his reasoning, or to distance themselves from these archaic thoughts.
“This was broadcast at the same time BBC Derby is promoting a 27-minute feature with former Rams defender Charlie Palmer about the difficulties he faced a as a young black footballer in the 1980s.
“As a professional footballer at an ambitious, high-profile Championship club I know that my performances will be scrutinised and I have no problem with that whatsoever – but I do not think it is acceptable for myself and my team-mate Jayden Bogle to be judged by the colour of our skin.
“Thank you for taking your time reading this – in a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Craig Ramage made unacceptable comments in a podcast yesterday, which have been removed. We are thoroughly investigating. Craig will not be on air while we look into this matter.— BBC Derby Sport (@BBCDerbySport) February 16, 2020
Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari told the Guardian: “These comments are shocking and the views expressed are the kind of thoughtless racist stereotypes that we heard 50 years ago. We do not expect to hear them lazily trotted out in 2020. I expect effective action to be taken by the BBC.
“I support Max Lowe’s comments and we offer our support to Max, Jayden Bogle and the young Derby players.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.