Cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott apologises for comments that he should 'black up' to get knighthood

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England cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott has been forced to issue a grovelling apology on Twitter after he said he stood a better chance of a knighthood if he “blacked up”.

The gifted batsman was slammed for the remarks made to VIPs during a break in play at Saturday’s test match against the West Indies, according to the Mirror.

During a Q&A session he suggested knighthoods were given like “confetti” to West Indian greats, and told Sky Sports presenter Gary Newbon: “Mine’s been turned down twice. I’d better black me face.” 

On Tuesday three messages posted to Boycott’s Twitter said: “Speaking at an informal gathering I was asked a question and I realise my answer was unacceptable.” 

“I meant no offence but what I said was clearly wrong and I apologise unreservedly.

“I have loved West Indian cricket my whole life and have the utmost respect for its players.”

Onlookers were said to be stunned by the comments, with one telling the Mirror: “It was a crass comment. It was intended to get a laugh but it went down like a lead balloon. People were offended.”

Guests had paid up to £300 for luxury packages to attend the event at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Controversial: Geoffrey Boycott’s edgiest comments

The former cricketer has a history of outspoken remarks

  • In 2007, Boycott said the England team made “a joke” of MBEs awarded to them, and made him feel “so bad about mine I’m going to tie it round my cat. It doesn’t mean anything any more.”
  • Boycott criticised Mike Yardy in 2011 when he returned early from the World Cup due to suffering depression. “I’m surprised, very surprised,” Boycott told the 5 Live Breakfast Show. “But he must have been reading my comments about his bowling, it must have upset him.”
  • He drew criticism for railing against his 1998 conviction in France for hitting former girlfriend Margaret Moore. He wrote on Twitter in 2015: “I tried to clear my name in France but under Napoleonic law once accused you are guilty until you can definitively prove your innocence. This is the opposite of English Law. I have to live with this injustice.”

The source was quoted saying: “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.”

11 West Indian cricketers have been honoured with knighthoods, including Sir Viv Richards, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Curtly Ambrose.

Boycott, from Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, played 108 tests for England and scored 151 centuries, gaining him the OBE in 1980 before he retired in 1982.

MPs have commended him for a knighthood, however his conviction in France in 1998 for hitting former girlfriend Margaret Moore is thought to have blocked his chances of the honour.

He has denied hitting Ms Moore, claiming the conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

The Standard has contacted Mr Boycott’s representation for comment.

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