Sunderland boss David Moyes sorry for 'slap' threat to female reporter

Sunderland manager David Moyes has said he "deeply regrets" threatening to slap a female reporter.

The incident happened in a post-match interview after the Premier League strugglers drew 0-0 with Burnley on 18 March.

Reporter Vicki Sparks had asked Moyes if the presence of Sunderland owner Ellis Short at the game had put him under more pressure as the club battled relegation.

He replied: "No, none at all."

But in footage published by the Daily Star, Moyes, thinking he is off camera, adds: "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."

The two were laughing at the time and Ms Sparks did not make a complaint, but Moyes said he later phoned her to apologise.

"It was in the heat of the moment," said Moyes, speaking on Monday.

"I deeply regret the comments I made. It's certainly not the person I am and I accept it was a mistake.

"I spoke to the BBC reporter who accepted my apology and hopefully we all move on."

"Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology," said a spokesman for the broadcaster.

But one domestic abuse charity called Moyes' comments "appalling".

Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, said: "I think the FA have to look into it.

"It is for the FA to set a clear standard about what they think is acceptable.

"It was dreadful, absolutely appalling.

"This is a woman, in a very small minority of sports journalists, trying to go about her job and being threatened.

"It's the sort of thing you expect down the local pub, not the kind of thing you get from a professional football manager."

Sunderland remain favourites to be relegated and are bottom of the Premier League following a 1-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday.

They are eight points from safety and play again on Tuesday night at champions Leicester City.

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