BBC presenter reprimanded after on-air rant over pupil ‘who swore and spat at him’


Boxing pundit Steve Bunce has been reprimanded by BBC bosses for his on-air comments alleging a pupil swore at him and spat at his wife while they watched a school rugby match.

The Radio 5 Live Fighting Talk presenter told listeners a teenage boy had called him the “second worst word you can say on the BBC” during a touchline bust-up as he watched his son play at Northampton School for Boys.

Bunce claimed on last Saturday’s edition of Fighting Talk – which has an audience of over a million people – that the student walked up to them on the sidelines, swore at him and then spat in his wife’s direction.

The school denied the allegations but the 17-year-old later admitted to teachers that he called Mr Bunce a “stupid t**t”- but denied claims that he called him a “c***” or a “p***k”.

The teenager also said that he spat on the ground not at Bunce’s wife, and that the high profile boxing journalist had “provoked” a confrontation.

It emerged today that BBC bosses have now written to the school apologising for Bunce’s outburst.

Jonathan Wall, acting controller of BBC Five Live, had “strong words” with Bunce over his actions and banned him from discussing the incident on air again.

The letter read: “I have spoken to Steve Bunce today to tell him this was a private matter and that he shouldn’t have raised on BBC Radio Five live.

“It is not an issue he will discuss again on this radio station.

“As you know from our conversation, I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has subsequently caused you this week.”

Headteacher Rod Goldswain – who complained to the BBC after the comments were made – said he was glad of the apology and hoped that would be an end of the matter.

He said: “Although an incident did take place our investigation shows that Steve Bunce failed to fully explain on radio the circumstances and the full context of the situation.

“It was dealt with at the time by staff.

“Unfortunately he has used his privileged position as a BBC Radio presenter to create what he sees as entertainment by criticising and naming a school.”

Mr Bunce and his wife had been watching their son play in his school team for Denstone College — an independent school with fees of up to #21,000 a year – against Northampton, just before Christmas.

He told listeners: “I’m there on the side and suddenly this kid that plays for Northampton, a 17-year-old kid, called me the second worst word you can use on the BBC and spat at my wife.

“I have reported him and I have discussed it.

“Northampton School for Boys, absolutely disgraceful behaviour.

“People I speak to in rugby cannot believe it.

“In six Olympics and thousands of sports events in 25 years, I have never seen behaviour like it from a player.”

On Wednesday, Mr Bunce said that he did regret making the comments about the incident on the radio show.

He said: “In hindsight, it was probably not right to mention it on the show.

“I don’t want the kid to get in trouble, I want him to be reprimanded.

“Perhaps I should have written to the school and not mentioned it on Fighting Talk.

“But perhaps some little kid shouldn’t have gobbed or sworn at two people on the sidelines on a fantastic winter’s afternoon in Northampton.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here