The Sports Personality of the Year shortlist has been announced, and for much of the public it seems the most conspicuous name not on it is Jermain Defoe’s.
The ex-Sunderland striker hit headlines in the past year for the heartfelt and moving friendship he had with Bradley Lowery – a young Black Cats fan who lost his fight with a rare type of cancer in July, aged just six.
Lowery has been nominated for the Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the Year award due to his and Defoe’s friendship, the winner of which will be announced at the 2018 Laureus Awards on February 27.
However Defoe’s name is not on the BBC’s list, as many fans had expected it to be.
@BBCSport How is @IAmJermainDefoe not in this list. He showed the world that sport can be as powerful and beautiful as any other on that list. He gave a beautiful little boy a fantastic last few months and should be shown how much it meant to the country. #SPOTY @Bradleysfight— Chad Bennett (@ChadBennett87) November 27, 2017
Defoe said of Lowery in an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus: “That story of Brad’s is just special, my best friend, it was genuine. He loved his football, he loved me, I loved him.
“There was nothing I could give him, apart from being a friend.”
The full list of nominees for the Sports Personality of the Year includes runner Mo Farah, Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton and Tennis player Johanna Konta.
Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, 28, is the favourite for the accolade after his captivating win by knockout over Wladimir Klitschko in April.
The 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award will take place on December 17, with the winner decided by a public vote.