Joey Barton has doubled down on his claims that women should not be allowed to comment on men’s football. The former Manchester City star was invited onto Piers Morgan Uncensored on Thursday to elaborate on his position after posting a string of tweets bashing female commentators and pundits.
Barton compared women commentating on football to men talking about knitting during a social media rant that lasted 12 hours and was not let off the hook when he joined Morgan on Talk TV. After a heated debate with the television presenter, he rowed with former Sky Sports reporter Bianca Westwood as part of a three-woman panel which included esteemed sports presenter Kait Borsay and influencer Pearl Davis.
But before that, Barton took aim at the supposed “woke agenda” in the world of sports journalism. “You have to be there on merit, not to fit this woke agenda that is going on in society,” he said.
“You don’t have to have played the game, a lot of managers haven’t, a lot of commentators haven’t. But they’ve earned the right with hard work over a prolonged period of time to get into that space.
“Obviously it helps if you’ve played at a high level because it gives you a unique perspective. There are similarities between both sports but the men’s game is played at a completely different speed and completely different skill set.
“So for someone to stand there and say ‘I would have done that’ or ‘he’s made a mistake there’ who have no experience of that – and it’s not just one or two, it’s being taken over and ruining the experience.
“And this is the men’s game. I don’t want to come across as sexist, I want women in the men’s game. At Bristol Rovers, we had #HerGameToo which was a great initiative to get women in stadiums, but if we’re going to talk technical nuances and to educate the audience, then we must do that with the most credible people. Not people who tick boxes or fill quotas.”
Barton admitted that there were female presenters who were exceptions to his rule but when asked to name them by both Morgan and Westwood he refused to do so. The one-cap England international is currently out of work having recently been sacked as manager of Bristol Rovers in October.