Sky Sports add ‘nitty gritty’ to banned list due to ‘slavery links’ as leaked email shows prohibited words

SKY SPORTS have added the phrase “nitty gritty” to their list of banned words due to its “slavery links”, according to a leaked email.

The broadcasting giants have been putting together a list of words and phrases they fear could offend.

Sky Sports staff have been sent an email of banned words in a bid to avoid any on-air gaffes

Match reporters and commentators are said to have been sent the message in a bid to ensure they are aware of the connotations particular phrases have.

The shock death of George Floyd in the US has sparked an increase focus on racism, with Black Lives Matter marches being held across the globe.

With that in mind, Sky Sports have put on extra sessions with anti-racism organisation Kick It Out and the PFA.

The broadcasters were keen to ensure all reporters used appropriate language and were sensitive with their phrasing while discussing Black Lives Matter stories.

And “nitty gritty” has emerged as one such phrase that must be avoided, according to the Daily Mail.

While there is some debate over the origin of the phrase, it’s believed it refers to the debris left after a slave ship was emptied.

However, the list of banned words is said to have sparked uproar amongst some Sky Sports staff – who claim they now face an “absolute minefield” every time the go on air.

The source said: “There are phrases most people would have absolutely no idea would cause offence and that, to be frank, I’d be amazed if people were offended by.

“It’s making what is already a difficult job harder and it feels unnecessary.

“There are obvious things that should not be said and I think everyone believes that education on these issues needs to be improved.

“But this feels like we are tripping over ourselves.”

On Sunday, Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra ditched the Black Lives Matter badges after the movement’s controversial statements criticising Israel.

The pair, along with host Kelly Cates and commentator Gary Neville, were not wearing the badges during the coverage of Brighton vs Manchester United.

Evra reportedly led the move to drop the badges – with Redknapp and Cates following suit – after a series of tweets by the UK branch of Black Lives Matter, which criticised Israel and called on the government to “defund the police”.

A spokesperson for Sky Sports told The Sun: “Sky’s support is for the moral cause and campaign, that black lives matter, rather than for any political organisation.

“Our presenters and analysts on-screen are free to make their own choice as to whether they wear supportive badges or not.”

THE Oxford English Dictionary defines “nitty gritty” as, “the fundamentals, realities or basic facts of a situation or subject. The heart of the matter.”

It also claims the word can be traced back to at least 1940 and originated in the US in African-American usage. 

While the origin of the word is often disputed, it’s believed to be linked to slavery.

One suggested origin of the phrase suggests “nitty gritty” refers to the debris left after a slave ship was emptied.

The phrase is already banned in a number of institutions, including the UK police.

But fellow pundit Matt Le Tissier will keep wearing the Black Lives Matter badge on TV after criticising the movement’s “far-left” calls to defund the police.

He had questioned if he should sport the item as he doesn’t support the group’s anti-capitalist views, but decided to keep the pin on to fight racism.

Meanwhile, the PFA has urged commentators to think before they speak after an in-depth study proved there was a racial bias over the descriptive words used on certain players.

Clive Tyldesley wrote to the PFA to demand extra training for commentators in a bid to finally eradicate racial stereotypes.

He claimed: “Aside from all the cliches and the hype we’re accused of, we do try, or we should try, to use the language accurately and responsibly.

“Racial stereotypes are not just wrong, morally wrong, they are inaccurate and they are irresponsible.

Patrice Evra did not wear the BLM badge during his appearance on Sky Sports on Sunday
Matt Le Tissier will continue to wear the badge despite the recent controversies

“They are lazy, thoughtless and in my blown-up opinion far too much sports commentary is lazy and thoughtless.

“Thinking what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, preferably before you say it.

“That is what this report is telling us commentators and co-commentators to do and I’m all for that.”


By: Dave Fraser
Title: Sky Sports add ‘nitty gritty’ to banned list due to ‘slavery links’ as leaked email shows prohibited words
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Published Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:33:37 +0000