PFA awards guests stunned as comic uses racist slurs and also jokes about Suarez
By Neil Ashton
PUBLISHED: 00:09, 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:39, 29 April 2013
PFA chiefs stunned guests at their annual dinner by booking a comedian who repeatedly used racist slurs on stage during his act on Sunday night.
Incredibly, after a year when the PFA has been at the centre of race storms involving John Terry, Ashley Cole, Anton Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand and PFA nominee Luis Suarez, black American comic Reginald D Hunter openly and repeatedly used the n-word during his act.
FA chairman David Bernstein was one of the dignitaries who squirmed his way through Hunter’s extraordinary act.
Controversial: Reginald D. Hunter, leaving the PFA awards last night, caused a stir with his use of the n-word
All smiles: But Hunter, after the awards dinner, admitted his act hadn’t gone down well
Amazingly, the comedian opened his act with a joke about Suarez, one of six players named on the official PFA shortlist. The Liverpool striker was banned for eight games after he racially abused Patrice Evra and was an invited guest at the annual dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Paul Elliott, who had to step down from his role at the FA after racially abusing Richard Rufus, was also among the attendees.
The comedian admitted that his act had not gone down well with guests.
But he took to his Twitter account to retweet a sarcastic message from the PFA to the comedian that said: ‘we’ve checked all our social media guidelines & still don’t know whether we were allowed to enjoy that set!’
PFA chiefs, led by chief executive Gordon Taylor, have made huge strides in recent years with anti-racism initiatives.
Asked whether it was a mistake to allow Hunter to perform, Taylor replied: ‘No, no, don’t be silly. Are you serious? I think there were a few raised eyebrows over the comedian, but that is the sort of thing you can’t control. It was unfortunate.
‘He is a professional comedian. It’s a difficult subject in football and with him not being fully aware of how emotive it has been in football, that was probably a difficulty for him.’
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle, however, was furious and vowed to find out how the comedian was booked for an event televised by Sky Sports.
Star-studded: Gary Neville (left), Fabrice Muamba (right) and Robin van Persie (below, with his wife) attended