Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

A further note on the variable Britishness of Andy Murray

Some additional research material on the myth surrounding media treatment of Andy Murray

Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 12:15


In today’s paper, I rubbish the myth that, so far as the UK media is concerned, Andy Murray is British when he wins and Scottish when he loses. Since the story was filed, no less a person than John McEnroe has repeated this old saw. I bow to John’s knowledge of the game, but he’s no more right about this than is the all-seeing Man in the Pub. This is a paranoid invention. Let me be clear. I am not chewing on any political beef here. It just happens to be untrue.

Anyway, I mention this again because, it seems that, out there on Twitter, supposed proof of this media bias has been circulating. It concerns Piers Newbery, a tennis writer for the BBC, and it seems to demonstrate that, initially viewing Andy as British while he was winning, Piers turned him into a Scot after the player’s straight-sets loss in the quarters.

Actually, that’s not true. It doesn’t even “seem to demonstrate” that. The second report first refers to Murray as a “Briton” and only later brings up his Scottishness. It takes about 30 seconds to locate a report from the same writer on one of Murray’s successes that makes no mention of his Britishness, but does refer to him as a Scot. “Defending champion Andy Murray swept past Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on Centre Court to reach the second week of Wimbledon without dropping a set,” Piers begins. You can find the report here. And view the significant paragraph below:

Insert this in place of the first image in the Tweeted montage. Highlight “Scot” there and “Briton” in the second image. Presto! You have proved that the very same writer is doing exactly the reverse of what has been claimed. Oh here we go again! When Andy Murray wins he’s Scottish. When he loses he’s British. Of course, you’ve proved no such thing. There is no such conspiracy from either side. I may shut up about this now. Then again, I may not.