Eric Bristow apologises for 'footballer wimps' comment in relation to abuse scandal

Former world darts champion Eric Bristow has apologised for calling footballers "wimps" in relation to soccer's ongoing abuse scandal .

He was angrily confronted on television by Marilyn Hawes, mother of three sexually abused children and charity founder, who told Bristow: "If I had a set of darts I would stick them where the sun don't shine."

Bristow was also berated by Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who called on the "Crafty Cockney" to apologise for writing on Twitter: "Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out."

He added: "Dart players tough guys footballers wimps".

Bristow told GMB: "It was worded wrong. I apologise, it was a miswording. They're not wimps."

Bristow said he wanted young children to speak out if they were being abused.

He added: "I want youngsters now to go out and complain straight away. There's no point complaining 30 years later."

Bristow was dropped by Sky Sports as a pundit after making the comments on social media.

Ms Hawes founded the charity Enough Abuse UK, which gives training and education on grooming.

Its website says Ms Hawes was a music teacher whose sons were sexually groomed and assaulted.

She called Mr Bristow "a bully" in the heated exchange, saying: "I find you to be the most deeply offensive man to breathe oxygen."

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bristow said the money he received for interviews about his views would be donated to a "relevant" charity.

It came after the BBC reported that his management asked the corporation for thousands of pounds when it asked him to discuss his tweets.

BBC sports correspondent Richard Conway told the Victoria Derbyshire programme: "What I understand is that the BBC last night asked Eric Bristow if he would come on, if he would talk about this, and Eric Bristow's management asked for a fee of £5,000 in order for him to appear and talk about this issue."

Conway later tweeted that they asked for £5,000 plus VAT. He added: "BBC declined to pay Bristow this or any fee."

In his statement, Bristow said: "On GMB I described myself as a bull in a china shop and that has always been the case.

"It makes me furious to think that an abuser can get away with it for so long, and to so many, when they should always be looking over their shoulder in fear, waiting to be confronted.

"I don't use PR people to run my social account as some do, and now appreciate my wording was wrong and offended many people when all I was doing was venting my anger at the abusers and encouraging kids to act asap.

"I know why I've been vilified but if one child comes forward quicker or one abuser thinks twice about the likelihood of being confronted then it will have been worth it. Any monies offered or received for any interviews with me will be donated in full to a relevant charity."

ITV declined to say whether Bristow had been paid for its interview, with a spokeswoman saying: "We don't discuss guest contracts."


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