Matt Le Tissier reveals how he tried to get Jamie Carragher sacked by Sky Sports after he himself was axed by the broadcaster.
The former Southampton player turned football pundit claimed he demanded to know why Carra was still employed by Sky, after the channel got rid of Le Tis in August 2020.
He was relieved from his punditry duties on Soccer Saturday, alongside fellow pundits Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson. At the time, this was a move which prompted a big backlash from it’s regular viewers.
However he also said a conversation was had with Sky Sports producers, stating he asked why Liverpool legend Carragher was still employed by the company after he was filmed spitting at a car which contained a 14-year-old girl, with the video going viral.
“Within five seconds I was told there was no more work for me at Sky,” Le Tissier said on ‘The Rob Moore podcast’. “I had about seven months left to run on my contract but I was told that I wouldn’t be needed anymore.
“They didn’t really give a particular reason, they just said ‘the show was going in a different direction’, they were the words I think they used. So I asked the question, does this have anything to do with my posts on social media?
“To which their reply was, ‘well we have to take into account the reputation of the company when making these decisions.’ At which point I said ‘oh that’s interesting, because at the moment, you are employing somebody who spat at a girl from his car’.
“Jamie Carragher, who spat at a young girl through his car. They suspended him for six months and then brought him back into the fold. I said ‘do you not think that might have harmed the reputation of the company at all’ and I got told ‘we can’t talk about other people on this’ so that was it really.”
Carragher said sorry for the incident which was caught on camera after Liverpool fell to a 2-1 defeat against Manchester United during the 2017-2018 Premier League campaign.
As well as issuing a public apology, he also personally got in contact with the family to apologise for his actions – a deed which resulted in the parents of the 14-year-old child urging Sky not to sack him.
Fortunately for Carra, he was allowed back on to the Sky Sports panel for the following campaign in August, and has been providing analysis and co-commentary ever since.
Jamie Carragher appeared on Sky News to issue a public apology.
Here, we provide the full transcript between interviewer Sarah Hewson and Carragher.
SH: I’m recoiling watching that, it’s disgusting. How do you feel watching that?
JC: “Exactly the same, really. You can’t obviously condone that behaviour in any way, shape or form, no matter where you are, who you’re representing – obviously at Sky Sports now, my family and the most important people in this really who were probably most effected is the family involved and especially the 14-year-old daughter.”
Why did you do it?
“A moment of madness that really is difficult for me to explain. Watching those clips back it feels almost like an out-of-body thing, that moment of madness those four or five seconds and no matter what the circumstances for anyone you can’t understand behaviour like that, that is just unacceptable.”
You describe it as a moment of madness but you were a former professional footballer for years, you should have been used to banter far worse than this and you just ignore it and carry on?
“But to be honest that is where again I think to myself ‘why did you react like that’ because that’s part of being a public figure at times, different things get said but you don’t react like that. It’s the only time I’ve reacted like that and it will be the only time I react like that, so again, I have no excuse and it’s devastating for the family involved and also for my own family, but that’s down to my actions that’s brought that on.”
And tell me about the family, you called them afterwards. Tell me about that call?
“Yes, I called the family, obviously they were upset and disappointed last night. Yes, and that is my biggest regret, there’s lots of regrets with what’s happened but certainly the biggest one is for the 14-year-old girl to be caught in the middle of my altercation with the father, and that is something that probably devastates me a little bit more than anything else really, that a young girl who wasn’t involved in anything really has now become embroiled in it.”
But it doesn’t matter who it was, there’s no excuse from spitting at anybody?
“No of course, I’m not saying that, I mean that it is a young girl who feels slightly worse.”
If it was your daughter?
I’ve got a daughter exactly the same age and if someone had done that, it’s difficult to find the words to express what I’d say to that person if I ever bumped into them because the way that father sees his daughter, the way I see my daughter, but that is my biggest regret of course – all of it is – getting involved in that type of situation, but all I can do now is apologise as much as I can possibly can and I’ve done that with the family, hopefully they accept that, and I’d like to obviously apologise to them again.”
What happens now? We’ve had the statement from Sky, you’ve had discussions today, what happens for you now?
“It remains to be seen, all I will say is that is Sky’s decision, not my decision.”
Do you think you deserve to keep your job?
“Again, that’s not my decision.”
But from your point of view, do you think, after watching those actions, that you deserve to be there on Monday Night Football, to be there as a face of the broadcaster, as a face of football, as a role model? Do you deserve that position?
“What I would say is there’s no doubt what I have done on Saturday after the game is disgusting, I apologise for it. I’m getting vilified for it and rightly so because if someone had done that in the game that I was commentating on [between] Manchester United and Liverpool, I’d have vilified them for the next few days, but what I would hope not just for Sky but for the public that have known me for possibly almost 25 years in the public eye since I started playing for Liverpool is that five seconds of madness will not take over everything I’ve done up to now. Some people may like, some people may not like me even before this incident, but hopefully going forward I can show them that I don’t feel this is the real representation of me and as I said hopefully Sky or the general public will look at the 25 years – and I’ve made mistakes in those 25 years – but this, the mistake I’ve made [on Saturday] is a huge one.”
Have you offered you resignation or considered it?
“I haven’t offered that, no. I’m just speaking obviously to people at Sky and working out what’s the best way to go forward for me and Sky, but they’ve made it be known – you’ve just read the statement – that they’re very disappointed and understandably so. I’ve brought shame on the name of Sky Sports.”
And the game of football, and so much is being done trying to improve the image of football and you actions have brought the game into disrepute?
“I agree, yes it has, and you said before about role models. I think footballers, people in the job that I do, a public figure, is a role model whether you like it or not and people do look up to us and look at our actions, and the world we live in now particularly with social media, a lot of young people will have seen this clip as well.”
I’m a mum of three Jamie, and if one of my children – my five-year-old – came home and spat I’d be absolutely horrified, and you’re a grown man?
“I’d be horrified at my own children, and what I’ve done, if I did have a five-or-six-year-old of my own I’d feel the same. As I’ve said, it’s difficult to explain, the moment of madness – four or five seconds where I’ve lost it, basically – and I’ve made a huge mistake and I’ve apologised for that. I wish I could go back and change it, obviously that’s not the case, what I can do is speak to you, spoke to the family last night, hopefully last night I can speak to the family again and apologise as much as I can and not behave like that.”
And what about your own kids, what have they said to you about it?
“Well they’re disappointed obviously. They’re upset.”
You are highly paid, you are in a position of power. That brings with it responsibility with it. What kind of message do you think you have sent out, and how can you amend that?
“A poor message not just about being in the game of football, it’s a poor message for everyone out there, man woman of children. It’s the lowest of the low, whenever I was brought up as a kid spitting was that, and I’ve never done it before, and I can assure you I’m never going to do it again. But right now the only think I can do now is come here, apologise and try get back to the person that I know I am.”
What can you say to the people watching who you have let down – not least of all the family involved in this – but to your fans, people that have looked up to you, people who have seen you as a role model? What do you say to them?
“Well I apologise because I know that will put a lot of my supporters, family and friends in uncomfortable positions. But the most important people I’d like to apologise to is the family involved really, they’ve actually been dragged into this media storm because of my actions which I’m sure will not be nice for them, especially the 14-year-old girl. For me, the people who know me, who look up to me as you mentioned, I need to sort that out and hopefully I can get the chance to apologise again or maybe meet face-to-face with the family and show how sorry I really am.”
The frustration clearly did get the better of you today Jamie but there are no excuses as you yourself have said and I ask you again do you think that you deserve to keep your job?
“Again, listen, it doesn’t matter if I say yes or no. That is obviously down to the powers above.”
Can you hold your head up high?
Oh no, no. Hopefully I can show people over the next few days or weeks the real me, and as I said before, hopefully one moment of madness will not cloud peoples’ judgement of me whether that was good or bad, of course this is a bad stain on me and my character, my career if you like, and the big thing that I’m really disappointed in is obviously the daughter. I certainly did not want that to happen or get involved, my frustration was an absolutely disgrace, but with the father.”
I’m still struggling to understand why you were so frustrated because when you listen to that clip Jamie, it’s light-hearted banter isn’t it, “2-1 mate”?
“This is the difficult bit for me because I don’t want to sort of give a reason, I don’t want people to think I’m making an excuse and it happened two or three times. You get that, that’s part of being a public figure, and I’ve never reacted like that before when I’ve had that so I cannot explain the reason in those four or five seconds why I had that. It’s never happened before and it won’t happen again. This whole sorry incident that I‘ve dragged the family into has been devastating for them and devastating for close family around myself and it’s all come from me and my action and again, there’s not a lot more that I can add to it other than improve my behaviour going forward and try to apologise to the family again and people at home.”
Before we end it, I also have to talk to you about the driving. You are so busy arguing about the driver in the car – who is also using his mobile phone I have to say while driving – you’re not looking at the road, he’s filming you, the consequences of this could have been far worse than your reputation, couldn’t they?
“Yes, you’re right they could have been and that’s something that no matter how bad [on Saturday] could have been for everyone – for the family, for Sky Sports, myself – it could have been a lot worse when you think this wasn’t just on a street, it was on busy traffic coming out of a football ground so they’re probably very lucky people.”