LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Goalkeeper John Ruddy of Norwich City looks at Didier Drogba of Chelsea after their collision during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley has found himself at the centre of a min-scandal after an embarrassing tweet following the injury to Didier Drogba in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Norwich City, which featured the veteran broadcaster questioning just how 'sympathetic' he would have been to the Ivorian's plight. Drogba, as we all know, as knocked unconscious in mid-air and stayed that way for half an hour, being given oxygen, stretchered off and sent to hospital (although we've had some good news on his prognosis).
Here's the tweet in question:
Glad I wasn't commentating when Drogba copped a nasty one. Not sure how sympathetic I'd have been. Hope he's ok. Top player.
Interpreting this as charitably as possible, that's still a deeply silly thing to say. Tyldesley later clarified that he meant his 'initial reaction' would be to show little sympathy for the stricken player, and it is obvious that the commentator didn't really mean to imply that he would have been totally indifferent to a man being injured the point of hospitalisation.
But even with that clarification, it's still an idiotic thing to have tweeted, because it shows something shocking about Tyldesley - that he would have come to a conclusion about a player feigning injury (or not) based on who that player is, not the collision itself. Watching on camera, it was immediately clear that something was wrong, and the replays were even worse. Yes, we all come to knee jerk reactions, but that's not a commentator's job.
It's fine for a them to have an opinion (Drogba is known for his theatrics, after all), but it's appalling that someone paid to relay the events of a match would make that assumption without actually paying attention to what's happened. Tyldesley's word choice was misguided and unfortunate, but that's surface-level stuff. The real shocker here is that a man that those watching rely on to tell the truth questions that he would have done so, just because the player in question is Didier Drogba. And that's deeply sad.