Former Athletes – Expert Commentary or Bias Opinions?

Good vs Evil has been the big story of the Athletics World Champs this week in Beijing as Bolt successfully defended his title in the 100m & 200m against Gatlin who has faced drug bans twice previously.

Renaldo Nehemiah, Gatlin’s agent, has since slammed the BBC’s commentary team of former athletes for showing a bias for Bolt during their World Champs coverage arguing that Gatlin “needs to be recognised as a human being” and should not have to “bear the brunt” of criticisms about doping”…

The BBC’s Steve Cram immediately defended publicly favouring Bolt whilst Michael Johnson similarly showed no remorse for the views he expressed about his fellow countryman: “What Renaldo doesn’t understand is that Justin damaged the sport, it’s hard for us to forgive that.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether Nehemiah’s complaint is an isolated case or if the BBC received complaints from it’s viewers as well? Should BBC commentators maintain an unbiased stance? What will Auntie’s Points of View have to say about all this?

We’re confident the Great British public will support Cram and Johnson. Passion for their sport combined with their expert insights and knowledge is what makes former athletes such great media commentators irrespective of the channel they are working for. Viewers want to know the background and context to the competition they are watching and want to know the opinions of the commentators they are listening to. Let’s face it, when did controversy ever stop cricket fans tuning into the legend that is Geoff Boycott or indeed the BBC hiring him?

One thing’s for certain – Athletics is a struggling sport that needs all the media coverage, passion and enthusiasm it can get. And, Bolt winning is a huge contributing factor to this.