LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 3 – Sunderland manager David Moyes said Monday he “deeply regrets” threatening to slap a female BBC reporter.
Earlier on Monday, Premier League strugglers Sunderland had issued an apology on behalf of Moyes for the remarks he made to Vicki Sparks after a goalless Premier League draw at home to Burnley on March 18.
Moyes, speaking at a press conference on Monday, said: “It was in the heat of the moment. I deeply regret the comments I made.
“That’s certainly not the person I am. I’ve accepted the mistake. I spoke to the BBC reporter, who accepted my apology.”
Sparks had asked if Sunderland owner Ellis Short’s presence at the Burnley game meant Moyes was under additional pressure, with the Black Cats yet again involved in a battle against relegation.
Video footage published by the Daily Star newspaper showed Scottish boss Moyes replying, “No, none at all” before the interview concluded.
However, the former Everton and Manchester United manager, believing he was off camera, added: “You were just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there, so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman.
“Careful the next time you come in.”
Both Moyes and Sparks were seen laughing at this point and the reporter herself did not make a complaint.
Former England striker turned television football broadcaster Gary Lineker was among those who took to Twitter on Monday to criticise Moyes’s behaviour, saying: “Moyes incident highlights a tendency for some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job. Well rewarded. Inexcusable.”
A Sunderland spokesman said earlier Monday: “David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably.”
Meanwhile the BBC added the matter had been resolved, with a spokesman saying: “Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology.”
Moyes’s comments became public just days after he said he expects to remain as Sunderland manager even if the club are relegated at the end of the season.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table and eight points adrift of safety following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Watford. They travel to a resurgent Leicester City on Tuesday.