A BBC 5 soccer analyst has made an on-air apology for an inappropriate comment in which he said that West Ham would face “a Holocaust” if they played badly in their Premier League away game against Manchester City.
Retired soccer player Carlton Cole made the comment as he was speaking about his former team’s difficulty when it came to winning against rival team Manchester City in a match at their home stadium.
The comment was said live on BBC 5 on Sunday afternoon, the UK Jewish News reported. It drew an immediate backlash from fans.
The controversy comes less than a month after the manager of the Bristol Rovers soccer club faced a barrage of criticism after comparing his team’s post-loss woes to the Holocaust.
That comment was called “really offensive” by the Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day Steering Group, with Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust telling the BBC that it was “clearly inappropriate.”
Cole’s statement was slammed on social media, especially for its timing at the beginning of Hanukkah.
”At the start of [Hanukkah] of all days. Carlton Cole has likened a football defeat to a ‘Holocaust,’” Twitter user Jitandara Joshi said.
Cole responded by issuing an on-air apology. He also tweeted: ”It was totally unacceptable. And I understand the gravity of my mistake.”
Cole spent most of his playing career with West Ham. He regularly appears on BBC 5 show TalkSport.