England cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott has been slammed after he told fans he would be more likely to get a knighthood if he ‘blacked up’.
The former player turned controversial commentator was speaking to VIPs during last week’s test match against the West Indies at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Boycott, 76, was taking part in a Q&A when he told host Gary Newbon, of Sky Sports, how he had been unsuccessful in obtaining a knighthood so far but they were given out ‘like confetti’ to West Indian cricketers.
England cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott, pictured, allegedly told an audience in Birmingham he needed to ‘black up’ to get a knighthood
The cricketer turned commentator, pictured at Wimbledon in July, was speaking at a Q&A event at the test match against the West Indies at Edgbaston in Birmingham
According to the Mirror, he said: ‘Mine’s been turned down twice. I’d better black me face.’
The audience reportedly reacted with ‘uneasy silence’ after paying £300 each for the luxury hospitality tickets.
A source told the Mirror it was a ‘crass comment that went down like a lead balloon’, branding Boycott a ‘dinosaur’.
The source said: ‘Is Boycott suggesting these great West Indians got knighthoods merely because of the colour of their skin? Birmingham is celebrated for its ethnic diversity and racial tolerance.
‘We can do without dinosaurs like him spouting rubbish.’
So far 11 West Indian cricketers have received knighthoods including sporting icons Sir Viv Richards and Sir Garfield Sobers.
A source said Boycott, left and right, told the audience ‘knighthoods were given to West Indian cricketers like confetti’ with the comments said to have ‘gone down like a lead balloon’
Civil rights activists in Birmingham branded the comments ‘ill-advised and ill-conceived’ and said Boycott should be more concerned about himself than others.
The former cricketer works for the BBC’s Test Match Special team having previously played 108 test matches for England.
For decades, the renowned character has been nicknamed as ‘Sir Geoffrey’ by fans of his legendary cricket style.
He was once his country’s lading test match run scorer with more than 8,000 runs and was given an OBE for Services to Cricket in 1980.
Boycott was also inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
He survived a battle with throat cancer in 2002 and returned to commentary in 2003, staying on the airwaves ever since.
It is understood Boycott also blamed not getting a knighthood on his 1998 conviction in France for assaulting former girlfriend Margaret Moore two years earlier.
MailOnline has contacted Boycott’s representatives for comment.
Boycott is no stranger to making controversial comments on and off the air.
In March 2011 he came under fire for criticising Mike Yardy’s decision to return home early from the Cricket World Cup, held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, because of depression.
Boycott, pictured in action for England against Australia in 1981, was previously given an OBE in 1980 for services to cricket
Boycott, who had been critical of Yardy’s performances, told the BBC he was ‘surprised’ by the decision and added: ‘He must have been reading my comments about his bowling, it must have upset him.
‘Obviously it was too much for him at this level. If any blame is attached it’s partly to the selectors because I’m sorry, he’s not good enough at this level.’
Later in the interview he said he ‘could not comment’ on Yardy’s depression because he ‘did not understand it’, adding it was a ‘very sad’ situation.
It is also not the first time Boycott has been outspoken about the honours system, criticising the 2005 Ashes-winning test team who all received at least an MBE after the 2-1 series victory.
As reported by MailOnline, he said: ‘People like me played 100 Test matches to get one, and [scored] 8,000 [runs].
‘I didn’t play five Test matches and get one. I feel so bad about mine I’m going to tie it round my cat. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s a joke.’
He added the decision to award the entire team MBEs after their first Ashes win since 1986 had been misguided.
Boycott said: ‘For 18 years England haven’t won – Australia have been beating England every two years home or away.
‘Suddenly, when England win, all hell breaks loose. They all get gongs at the palace. It just shows how foolish it was when they come out here two years later and are absolutely annihilated.’