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F1 commentator suspended for making "autistic" comment about Lance Stroll


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#1 owenmahamilton

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:06

If this is already being discussed then the mods can close the thread.

 

https://www.dailysta...stroll-27469050

 

I hope the commentator is sacked and never works as any kind of sports commentator again, that's a disgusting thing to say.



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#2 absinthedude

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:11

Gods, what was he thinking?

 

From the quote given, it does sound like the word "autistic" was being used as a criticism of Lance Stroll. Which would absolutely be a sacking offence in any right thinking organisation.



#3 FLB

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:15

Lionel Froissart is somebody from another generation, who's been a part of the F1 circles for 35 years now. He used to be the F1 and boxing correspondant of Libération, which is the French equivalent of The Guardian.

 

He was the first one to make me understand that Lewis Hamilton was Ron Dennis's pet project of trying to fabricate a driver the same way you'd fabricate a part.


Edited by FLB, 13 July 2022 - 14:19.


#4 FLB

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:15

Gods, what was he thinking?

 

From the quote given, it does sound like the word "autistic" was being used as a criticism of Lance Stroll. Which would absolutely be a sacking offence in any right thinking organisation.

I heard it in French. 

 

 

I can confirm it's used as an insult/criticism in the context.


Edited by FLB, 13 July 2022 - 14:19.


#5 Risil

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:27

I know nothing about Lance Stroll and his interactions with the media. What was Froissart on about?



#6 FLB

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:33

I know nothing about Lance Stroll and his interactions with the media. What was Froissart on about?

That Aston Martin is keeping Vettel because Stroll has difficulties understanding and communicating about the car.



#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:34

Even the insult seems weird, I thought an autistic stereotype is an intense interest in details or specific things or whatever. Like being neurodivergent-obessive would be a good thing in an F1 driver. 

 

If Stroll is a bit of a mouthbreather/moves his lips while reading and barely knows how many tires are on the car, it's a different kind of stereotype insult?



#8 Risil

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:35

That Aston Martin is keeping Vettel because Stroll has difficulties understanding and communicating about the car.

 

Oh right, so it's the purely pejorative usage of autism. Not nice. Take his point though.



#9 Risil

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:40

Even the insult seems weird, I thought an autistic stereotype is an intense interest in details or specific things or whatever. Like being neurodivergent-obessive would be a good thing in an F1 driver. 

 

If Stroll is a bit of a mouthbreather/moves his lips while reading and barely knows how many tires are on the car, it's a different kind of stereotype insult?

 

There are lots of different behaviours associated with autism. There does seem to be one underlying neurological condition at bottom but depending on the individual different "autistic traits" can be foremost. Intense and narrow interests are one thing, another can be extreme social anxiety, another can be a hatred of loud noises or breakage of routine, another can be an inability to take into consideration what others are thinking, another can be being totally nonverbal. So naturally different people have their own preferred stereotype that they generalize out.

 

But why oh why would you pick a fight with Lawrence Stroll's son.



#10 as65p

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:46

Even the insult seems weird, I thought an autistic stereotype is an intense interest in details or specific things or whatever. Like being neurodivergent-obessive would be a good thing in an F1 driver.
 

 

Guess you've fallen for rainman. Those partly spectacular autists are very rare. Normally they got all the problems but no special talents to make up for it.


Edited by as65p, 13 July 2022 - 14:47.


#11 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 14:52

No I wasn't thinking of that. Most people's impression of autism is the extreme version. People like Rainman, or extreme tantrums, or etc. It's a spectrum and sometimes it can be very mild. And of course everyone is on the spectrum these days because the worst thing you can be is normal and mainstream.

 

These days when you say someone is "a bit autistic" you mean weird or awkward or intense about something. Which would describe a lot of racing drivers really.



#12 10kDA

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:00

Even the insult seems weird, I thought an autistic stereotype is an intense interest in details or specific things or whatever. Like being neurodivergent-obessive would be a good thing in an F1 driver. 

 

If Stroll is a bit of a mouthbreather/moves his lips while reading and barely knows how many tires are on the car, it's a different kind of stereotype insult?

Take it from me, as a person "on the spectrum" as the Mental Health Care Professionals™ are prone to say, the details which grab the focus are often inconsequential to the task at hand, things that have little or nothing to do with a problem to be solved. It's a challenge for me to control, and I'm considered to be "High Functioning" ™. Many others find it much more difficult or even impossible to control where their attention leads them. And even if, due to intense focus, I have a more comprehensive understanding than others about something that is indeed the problem to be solved, communicating it is often difficult.



#13 krapmeister

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:06

Intense and narrow interests are one thing, another can be extreme social anxiety, another can be a hatred of loud noises or breakage of routine, another can be an inability to take into consideration what others are thinking...


Blimey you've just described me to a tee. Maybe I should see someone

#14 juicy sushi

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:12

It's a pretty lousy thing to say which had no need to be said.  And the commentator would have known that in the moment he said it.  He was sticking the knife in because he thought he could, and that is not the role of a commmentator, let alone the needless choice of language.  I'm sure French TV can replace him in short order, as it's not hard to find someone who can do it better.



#15 10kDA

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:14

Blimey you've just described me to a tee. Maybe I should see someone

You'd have better results pumping your money into a slot machine. I almost typed "flushing your money down the toilet" but you get the picture. :lol:



#16 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:15

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

#17 FLB

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:18

It's a pretty lousy thing to say which had no need to be said.  And the commentator would have known that in the moment he said it.  He was sticking the knife in because he thought he could, and that is not the role of a commmentator, let alone the needless choice of language.  I'm sure French TV can replace him in short order, as it's not hard to find someone who can do it better.

It's not French TV (Canal+), it's the RTBF (Belgian), which is also the French-language F1TV. The regular commentator is Gaëtan Vigneron, who immediately reacted by saying Froissart had said someting inappropriate. 

 

Froissart was on a rotation of analysts that sometimes include Stoffel Vandoorne.



#18 macjim

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:23

I think drivers have used some choice words over the years also, Max wasn't exactly complementary a few years ago to Stroll either.

 

Infamously DC used his Coffee shaker to MSC in MC many years ago.

 

However a broadcaster can't use such words, but at some point we're going to have to stop going back and revisiting the past.



#19 10kDA

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:25

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

I would say no, not necessarily. Often when the term is used as name-calling the name-callers have little understanding of what they are referring to. So why get upset about someone else's misunderstanding?



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#20 djr900

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:35

How about if there is some truth in what was said ?

( But it could have been said in a more polite way ? )

Does this commentator still need to be sacked / cancelled / face an internet firing squad.

#21 10kDA

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:37

Has Stroll himself had anything to say about the on-air talent's comment?



#22 BRG

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:50

However a broadcaster can't use such words, but at some point we're going to have to stop going back and revisiting the past.

I agree, all this obsessing over things done and said 20+ years ago is deeply unhealthy and is often used as a political or personal weapon.

 

But this was said this week, wasn't it?  It seems to me to be completely unnecessary to use this sort of language.   If he thought Lance doesn't communicate well or express himself clearly, then just say so in those terms.  No need for pejorative terminology.



#23 pdac

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:56

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

 

Like all things, it depends on the context. If the word "autistic" is being used purely as an insult - suggesting that autistic people are of a lower class and to call someone "autistic" is just about suggesting that they have a lower value than others then, yes, it's totally a horrible thing to say. To describe someone as "autistic" (because of their similarities to the stereotype of an autistic person) without implying any negativity or bigotry, then it may be not so bad.



#24 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 15:57

I learned recently Kevin Schwantz used the n-word as recently as the early 90s. And they published it at the time with seemingly no qualms.



#25 Ruusperi

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:05

What is worse: being called mongol or autistic? What about Major Asshole, the cousin of Philip Asshole?



#26 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:06

Like all things, it depends on the context. If the word "autistic" is being used purely as an insult - suggesting that autistic people are of a lower class and to call someone "autistic" is just about suggesting that they have a lower value than others then, yes, it's totally a horrible thing to say. To describe someone as "autistic" (because of their similarities to the stereotype of an autistic person) without implying any negativity or bigotry, then it may be not so bad.


The thing is, I’ve never associated the term with an insult and I fail to see why anyone would take offence at it being used. Seemingly it is me who may be wrong here looking at some of the reactions of disbelief and disgust in this thread, but it just goes to show that we all have different social conventions I suppose. Not sure if imposing ours on others as seems to be happening a lot in society at the moment is a good development, but that is probably a topic for another thread.

#27 milestone 11

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:08

Like all things, it depends on the context. If the word "autistic" is being used purely as an insult - suggesting that autistic people are of a lower class and to call someone "autistic" is just about suggesting that they have a lower value than others then, yes, it's totally a horrible thing to say. To describe someone as "autistic" (because of their similarities to the stereotype of an autistic person) without implying any negativity or bigotry, then it may be not so bad.

Criticism and insult are not synonymous to my knowledge.

#28 pdac

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:10

The thing is, I’ve never associated the term with an insult and I fail to see why anyone would take offence at it being used. Seemingly it is me who may be wrong here looking at some of the reactions of disbelief and disgust in this thread, but it just goes to show that we all have different social conventions I suppose. Not sure if imposing ours on others as seems to be happening a lot in society at the moment is a good development, but that is probably a topic for another thread.

 

To be fair, pretty much any tag that you can apply to a person can (and probably will) be used in a negative way by someone.


Edited by pdac, 13 July 2022 - 16:10.


#29 pdac

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:12

Criticism and insult are not synonymous to my knowledge.

 

Indeed. And I do believe that there are contexts in which describing a person as "autistic" could be a positive or even a complement. It would appear, though, that this was not one.



#30 Sterzo

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 16:17

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

I think our shock is not that he was insulting Lance Stroll (though that's pathetic enough in itself). No, our shock is that he should use the term "autistic" as though it is an insult.

 

(I'll declare a bit of an interest as I have a fair number of friends and relatives with Asperger Syndrome, though not on the spectrum myself).



#31 Red5ive

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 17:48

Had a momentary burst of excitement thinking it might have been "Crofty"  caught off mike or something.  ;)



#32 Mat13

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 18:59

Had a momentary burst of excitement thinking it might have been "Crofty" caught off mike or something.  ;)

God, me too. Alas.

My eldest boy is ‘high-functioning’ autistic (although not officially diagnosed, as the evidence is apparently incredibly hard to gather). I can’t get myself overly offended by what the commentator said to be honest, but any commentator who lacks the common sense/eloquence/tact to have to resort to insults deserves to be fired anyway, just for being bad at their job.

Edited by Mat13, 13 July 2022 - 19:00.


#33 djr900

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 20:23

Perhaps this commentator is autistic himself ?

If so , then if you follow the logic that some people have with the "N word", where it is cool for black people to use the word.

Then it must be okay for autistic people to use the "A word"

#34 Jones Foyer

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 20:27

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

Using a serious medical condition as a joke comment about someone’s personality is not good.

#35 milestone 11

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 20:36

Using a serious medical condition as a joke comment about someone’s personality is not good.

It wasn't said as a joke.

#36 Sterzo

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 20:57

Perhaps this commentator is autistic himself ?

If so , then if you follow the logic that some people have with the "N word", where it is cool for black people to use the word.

Then it must be okay for autistic people to use the "A word"

It's OK for anyone to use the word autistic. The more people who talk about and understand autism the better. Misusing it as an insult is unpleasant.



#37 PayasYouRace

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 21:23

It’s pretty unpleasant to use any disability or disorder as an insult to someone who doesn’t have it.

 

Rather worrying that people seem to want to excuse it, or compare it to racial slurs for that matter.



#38 William Hunt

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 04:50

RTBF uses different co-commentators every race (sometimes ex drivers: Stoffel Vandoorne has done it several times. They've had Bertrand Gachot, Jean-Michel Martin or Thierry Tassin too in the past), Froissart was a co-commentator, Gaetan Vigneron (who is excellent) does all the races.

 

Also: there is absolutely no reason why someone with autism (depending where that person is in the spectrum) can't perfectly drive F1. A lot of people have it in some degree and nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Maybe Froissart has heard that Stroll was diagnosed with it (again, so what?) and that's why he said it: I don't know. But it seemed like he used the term in an insulting way and that is over the line and not done.

 

You can't just claim that someone has it without that person beiing diagnosed with the condition. And if Lance Stroll has it or not to me is completely irrelevant anyway. He can drive a F1 car at speed and do his job: that counts.

 

I see people here posting like it's a fact that 'Stroll doesn't have it'. You can't say that either without a diagnosis made public. We don't know if he has it and frankly I don't care.

 

Niki Lauda always seemed to me like someone who could have had it but again the word 'seemed' is important here so I would never claim he had it and certainly not in public. There has to be a diagnose. And again: it doesn't matter one bit to me. I don't find the word autism insulting unless it is used in an insultin manner.
 


Edited by William Hunt, 14 July 2022 - 04:54.


#39 YamahaV10

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 05:04

As someone who occasionally self-associates as autistic, is this really such a horrible thing to say..?

It's pretty common for ppl to self associate and use it as slang on the Internet these days.

But I think this guy was trying to imply that stroll was just mentally slow. Which is something different. Either way it's a bad look. Why say something like that.

Edited by YamahaV10, 14 July 2022 - 05:05.


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#40 William Hunt

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 05:06

I normally always watch every race on RTBF but just on this rare ocasion I watched the British commentary instead. So I didn't hear it and can't comment on the tone in which it was said unless someone has a link with the fragment so I can hear it.


Edited by William Hunt, 14 July 2022 - 05:06.


#41 Alex79

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 06:45

I do have a diagnosis in the autism spectrum, and if I look at this seriously the only reason why Froissart comes with this insult is that stroll has both problems with multitasking while racing and being unable to give technical feedback. Like poster above said, that could just be stroll being called dumb or mentally challenged. If he really was an autist he would have been manically good at at least one thing. I always suspected Kimi of having asperger because of his direct attitude, socially awkwardness (unless provided with beer) and brilliant car handling skills. But this thing with stroll seems just Froissart being insulting. Too bad, always liked to watch RTBF in my youth with Vigneron being backed up by Tassin, was a very good way to learn French when my teacher was failing)

#42 messy

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 07:20

I’ve grown up around ASD through my brother, and worked as an SEN teacher for a long time, still work with autistic students today. I think we’re all on the spectrum somewhere, and you get a diagnosis of autism if those traits that everyone has are extreme enough to stop you living a normal life - or make your life difficult. It’s not one thing, it’s not a specific neurological condition. And over the years watching Motorsport, I’ve suspected quite a lot of drivers would probably get a diagnosis. Thing is, I suppose I’ve mainly kept that to myself and not used it in a derogatory way….this guy was using the term as an insult which somehow turns it into something quite shocking in this day and age. The stigma/negativity about having autism is nothing like it was in the 80s when my brother grew up, let’s keep it that way.

#43 pdac

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 07:57

I’ve grown up around ASD through my brother, and worked as an SEN teacher for a long time, still work with autistic students today. I think we’re all on the spectrum somewhere, and you get a diagnosis of autism if those traits that everyone has are extreme enough to stop you living a normal life - or make your life difficult. It’s not one thing, it’s not a specific neurological condition. And over the years watching Motorsport, I’ve suspected quite a lot of drivers would probably get a diagnosis. Thing is, I suppose I’ve mainly kept that to myself and not used it in a derogatory way….this guy was using the term as an insult which somehow turns it into something quite shocking in this day and age. The stigma/negativity about having autism is nothing like it was in the 80s when my brother grew up, let’s keep it that way.

 

If we're all autistic, then there's no need for the term and no need to refer to someone that way, is there?



#44 milestone 11

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:09

I normally always watch every race on RTBF but just on this rare ocasion I watched the British commentary instead. So I didn't hear it and can't comment on the tone in which it was said unless someone has a link with the fragment so I can hear it.

Here. https://m.youtube.co...h?v=33Dn1cxH1dM
We're in very strange times. I happen to believe that two of F1's greatest luminaries are suffering from early stage dementia. That is not an insult to either of them, i'm merely portraying what I believe to be true. By naming them, it becomes an insult.

Edited by milestone 11, 14 July 2022 - 08:09.


#45 Viryfan

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:22

Froissart used this word mostly because of how he interacts with media and people in the paddock which is plain wrong.

He used the same word to describe Nick Heidfeld back in 2011 for the french version of F1 RACING.

He also called Grosjean simpleminded back in 2011 on french tv.

Edited by Viryfan, 14 July 2022 - 08:24.


#46 jjcale

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:23

If its a first offence .... Let the guy apologise for causing offence ... and move on. 

 

100% the guy probably didnt even realise he would causing offence to anyone other than Stroll. ..... the rules are changing all the time - its hard for everyone to keep up. 



#47 jjcale

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:26

Froissart used this word mostly because of how he interacts with media and people in the paddock which is plain wrong.

He used the same word to describe Nick Heidfeld back in 2011 for the french version of F1 RACING.

He also called Grosjean simpleminded back in 2011 on french tv.

 

Seems its not a first offence .... send him on a sensitivity course or something ... let him be punished by being bored out of his mind for a couple of days. 

 

And make sure he knows this is his last chance ...



#48 William Hunt

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:27

Apparently Froissart is a very experienced autosport journalist from Paris, he even worked for Auto Hebdo (the French equivalent of Autosport magazine in the UK, highly respected weekly mag) in the '70s:

https://fr.wikipedia...ionel_Froissart



#49 BRG

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:28

100% the guy probably didnt even realise he would causing offence to anyone other than Stroll.

 

Does that make it alright?  Should a professional commentator and journalist use insulting terms about someone in the sport? 



#50 jjcale

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 08:29

Had a momentary burst of excitement thinking it might have been "Crofty"  caught off mike or something.  ;)

 

crofty came up through the BBC .... this is not a mistake he would ever make.... he might make plenty of other mistakes - but never this one. 

 

Its funny to me that he seems reasonable normal despite working for the BBC for so many years ....