SuperSport ‘trying to get ducks in a row’ after Campese’s controversial tweets

2013-09-22 06:00

Pay-TV channel SuperSport is still mulling over what action to take against its analyst, former Australian rugby star David Campese, for tweeting a “bigoted” comment about his country’s Pakistan-born cricket player.

SuperSport suspended Campese two weeks ago after he tweeted about spin bowler Fawad Ahmed, following an offer from Cricket Australia that he was allowed to refrain from wearing the national team’s standard shirt, which has an alcohol company’s logo on it.

Ahmed is a Muslim.

Campese is freelance analyst for the channel and he was taken off the panel before South Africa faced Australia in a Rugby Championship match in Brisbane on September 9 after SuperSport management became aware of his Twitter comments, in which he said Ahmed must “go home” when he responded to former Australian test cricketer Doug Walters’ tweet.

SuperSport spokesperson, Clinton van der Berg, this week confirmed that Campese had been suspended while the channel was trying to establish if Campese had apologised to Ahmed and Cricket Australia.

“I want to clarify that Campese is a freelance consultant and we chose not to use him. The matter is upstairs and is being finalised,” Van der Berg said. “We’ve spoken to him and want to establish if he has made a suitable apology ... we’re trying to get our ducks in a row here. We were upset about his comment and we made it clear to him that we don’t tolerate discrimination of any sort from our presenters. That message was driven home to him,” he added. Campese had written:

Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don't like the VB uniform, don't play for Australia Well said doug. Tell him to go home — David Campese (@Davidcampese11) September 5, 2013
He also said:
@Gr1ngo_ well why did he come to Aussie for in the first place. A better life? Now he is telling people what he wants.! — David Campese (@Davidcampese11) September 5, 2013
Campese declined to comment. “It’s all finished now. I just want to move on and I’m on holiday and looking forward to enjoying myself,” was all he said. Campese has, however, apologised on Twitter.
Just like to say sorry for a comments. It is about sport and never has or will be about religion . Any who knows me can tell you that. — David Campese (@Davidcampese11) September 9, 2013
Also on September 9, he tweeted:
I will be ringing the ACA to say sorry and to pass my message on. Sport is about team work and team.that was my point. Sorry again — David Campese (@Davidcampese11) September 9, 2013
On September 10, he said:
Spoke to Aussie manager today. And tried Fawad and left a message saying I am sorry and the comments. I will only stick to rugby now. — David Campese (@Davidcampese11) September 10, 2013

City Press understands that Campese’s column in Highbury Safika Media’s magazine, SA Rugby, was also canned.

Attempts to get confirmation from SA Rugby editor Simon Borchardt on Thursday and Friday this week were unsuccessful as he did not return messages left with his office.

On Friday, a receptionist told City Press to email questions, but Borchardt still did not respond and we were told he had left the office until Monday.

Ahmed fled Pakistan in 2009 to seek asylum in Australia. He was given citizenship in July and became eligible to be selected for the cricket squad.

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