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Rugby League: BBC stir a media 'Thunder' storm [May. 14th, 2009|02:43 pm]
Sports Shorts


It has been, to put it mildly, an interesting week for the game's relationship with the media.

Take the fury of the Gateshead Thunder's chief executive at what he claimed was the insult of being described on the BBC as a bye for St Helens in the Challenge Cup draw.

I'd better declare an interest here, because the broadcaster in question, Dave Woods, is one of my better mates in the game and someone who I know would never intentionally undermine a striving smaller club.

He tells me that what he actually said was something rather different, posing the question, with Saints players in vision laughing and joking, whether they could afford to take the tie lightly.

It's a storm which appears to have died down now, but it will have had the effect of generating some extra publicity in the north-east. I know it wasn't a put-up job, but had it been it would have been justified.

There is absolutely nothing feigned about the bad blood between BBC Radio Humberside and Hull FC, who this week banned the station over what they claim has been unfair reporting.

There was a ban of sorts last season, when the station reported - rightly as it turned out - that Paul Cooke was on his way out of the KC in murky circumstances.

Like that, this new ban cannot be total, because they are contractually obliged to let Radio Humberside commentate on matches; they just won't co-operate with anything else.

There must be something in the water in Kingston upon Hull, because Hull KR have also been daggers drawn recently with the Hull Daily Mail, largely because the paper put a graphic video of Ben Cockayne's assault on its web-site.

My message to all these clubs would be the same - grow up, get on with it, take the rough with the smooth and keep the toys in the pram.
I recall the chairman of a smallish club telling me that they were going to ban their local radio station from covering their games. What had they done to upset him? I asked.

"They haven't been covering our games," he said. I rest my case.

This has also been a week when one Australian TV channel, Nine, ditched Matthew Johns because of the revelations on the rival ABC.
Johns, one of the most articulate and personable men in the sport, is surveying the wreckage of a career, seven years after a sordid episode during his playing days.

One quote from him is that he always knew that the incident would catch up with him one day. On those grounds, if no other, I can't help feeling sorry for him - which is not meant to imply any lack of sympathy for the woman involved.