Jake Humphrey insists remarks criticising people being ‘ready to snipe’ at Newcastle were about Eddie Howe and not Saudi Arabian ownership in U-turn following backlash at controversial moment on BT Sport coverage of their defeat by Liverpool
- The BT Sport presenter sparked a backlash on social media with his comments
- Jake Humphrey said it was ‘difficult’ for people to criticise Newcastle’s owners
- Humphrey was accused of being ‘tone deaf’ after seeming to praise the PIF
BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey has performed a U-turn on his controversial comments before Newcastle United’s match with Liverpool after he was slammed for the remarks on the Magpies’ Saudi Arabian ownership.
Humphrey appeared to suggest there had been too much criticism of the Public Investment Fund and their running of Newcastle prior to Liverpool’s 1-0 win at St James’ Park.
‘As ever with this club, there are people standing on the sidelines, ready to snipe and have a bit of a pop,’ he said.
‘At the moment, the way they’re running the club, it’s proving difficult for them, isn’t it?’
Jake Humphrey sparked a backlash with his comments before Liverpool’s win at Newcastle
Many viewers of the BT coverage interpreted the comments as referring to the vocal critics of Newcastle’s new Saudi-led ownership amid widespread concerns over the Saudi Government’s human rights record, its anti-LGBTQ laws and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Humphrey faced a considerable backlash when a clip of his remarks was posted on Twitter.
He addressed the furore after the match had finished. ‘Off the pitch the ownership situation here will always quite rightly lead to questions, and certainly any praise from me for this football club is aimed at Eddie How, his players and the fans,’ he said.
Humphrey had been accused of being ‘tone deaf’ with his remarks on the Saudi owners
But the BT Sport presenter insisted he was instead referring to the job done by Eddie Howe
Humphrey later issued a statement on Twitter, where he echoed his claim that his pre-match comments were about manager Howe and his staff rather than the controversial Saudi Arabian ownership.
‘I appreciate how this clip looks,’ he wrote. ‘Let me be absolutely clear though, Eddie Howe had left us moments before this, we were talking about him, and my praise, my use of ‘they’ was aimed squarely and only at him and his staff.’
Guardian journalist Sachin Nakrani, who posted the clip, said the pre-match remarks from Humphrey were ‘tone deaf’.
Journalist and broadcaster Max Rushden said the BT presenter ‘should really explain who he’s referring to’.
Liverpool won the match 1-0 thanks to Naby Keita’s first-half goal as they kept the pressure on leaders Manchester City in the title race.