BBC football pundit who was axed after describing clash between players as ‘handbags’ is accused of homophobic comment about male-model defender ‘appearing in gay monthly’
- Steve ‘Tommo’ Thompson, 65, was axed from BBC Radio Lincolnshire last week
- Now accused of homophobic comment about Lincoln City’s Lewis Montsma, 22
- In a clip Thompson reportedly said he spotted Montsma in ‘gay monthly’
- BBC said Thompson ‘won’t be on air again until he has completed some training’
Football pundit Steve ‘Tommo’ Thompson has been accused of making a homophobic comment days after being axed by the BBC.
The 65-year-old was handed a warning and told he won’t be on air again until next year after making three inappropriate comments within 20 minutes, which included describing a clash between players as ‘handbags’ on BBC Radio Lincolnshire during Lincoln City’s 1-0 win at Swindon Town on November 24.
Now Thompson is being accused of making a homophobic comment on air in a clip from September, in which he seemed to berate Lincoln City defender Lewis Montsma, 22, for being a male model, the Mirror reports.
In the clip Thompson reportedly said: ‘I was looking through my “gay monthly” and I see he was a male model… I’m not sure I want a centre-back as a male model.’
Football pundit Steve ‘Tommo’ Thompson (pictured) was suspended by the BBC for his ‘use of language’, including describing a clash between players as ‘handbags’
Thompson had previously received a written warning about his use of language in 2018 and also referred to a player as a ‘drama queen’.
Explaining its decision to suspend Thompson last week, the BBC said the term ‘handbags’ did not meet its standards.
The BBC added today: ‘He has been warned about his use of language before and the standards our listeners expect.
‘Given this, and his recent remarks, we’ve told Steve he won’t be on air again until he has completed some training.’
Lincoln City defender Lewis Montsma, 22, who is also a male-model, on the catwalk for a Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show in London
Montsma, from Amsterdam, Netherlands, has modelled alongside supermodels such as Kendall Jenner and Irina Shayk
Bosses added that Thompson had acknowledged ‘some of his comments on air didn’t meet the standards we expect’ but said they would continue to use him as a freelance summariser in the New Year.
Fans reacted in outrage at the BBC’s decision, arguing using the well-known phrase ‘handbags’ did not merit Thompson’s immediate suspension.
Lincoln fan Bernard O’Mahoney, who is campaigning for Thompson’s reinstatement, said: ‘As any football fan knows, ‘handbags’ is an incredibly well-known saying.
Thompson, who works as a freelancer, made the ‘handbags’ comment on on BBC Radio Lincolnshire during Lincoln City’s 1-0 win at Swindon Town November 24
The BBC lags behind Channel 5, Channel 4 and ITV among viewers for its perceived impartiality, according to research by Ofcom. Only 58 per cent believe the corporation’s coverage is impartial, a fall of 1 per cent on last year. This decline was enough to see it drop to the bottom of the list below Channel 5, which saw its own figure rise from 58 to 61 per cent
‘I can’t begin to think who’d be offended by it. The BBC has lost touch with the public.’
‘Handbags’ is such a common term in sports commentary that it appears in the Collins Dictionary.
It is described as ‘an incident in which people, especially sportsmen, fight or threaten to fight, but without real intent to inflict harm’.
Thompson is a former Lincoln City player and manager and is said to be ‘devastated’ by the suspension.
Thompson has been contacted for comment.