Piers Morgan claims Mary Earps did not ‘deserve’ SPOTY award over Rory McIlroy, Frankie Dettori and Ronnie O’Sullivan


Piers Morgan has questioned whether England goalkeepers Mary Earps deserved to win the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award over her fellow nominees, while appearing to misunderstand the meaning of the award.

Earps was presented with the famous trophy at a ceremony on Tuesday night after a year in which she helped England to the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney and won the Golden Glove at the tournament following a series of outstanding performances, including a penalty save in the final, which Spain won 1-0.

The 30-year-old Manchester United player also earned praise after speaking out against Nike’s decision to not make the England goalkeeping jersey available for sale during the World Cup. Following a public petition that received over 170,000 signatures, Nike U-turned and Earps’ shirt sold out in minutes amid “unprecedented” demand when it was eventually made available to buy this winter.

Earps was odds-on favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year and topped the public vote ahead of recently retired England bowler Stuart Broad, jockey Frankie Dettori, athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, tennis player Alfie Hewett and golfer Rory McIlroy.

After 14 consecutive years of male winners of the Sports Personality of the Year award between 2007 and 2020, there have now been three female winners in a row. Earps follows Lionesses forward Mead, who won after England’s Euros triumph in 2022, and tennis player Emma Raducanu after her US Open success in 2021.

But Morgan suggested that her fellow nominees had been overlooked.

“Trying to get my head around two of England’s women footballers winning BBC SPOTY in successive years,” the controversial broadcaster tweeted. “While male sporting superstars with great personalities like Rory McIlroy, Frankie Dettori & Ronnie O’Sullivan have never won it.”

Morgan appeared to mistakenly think the word “personality” in the award’s title refers to the character of the athletes, when in fact it simply means a person of note. The award is based on achievement in the field of sport.

Responding to a tweet which criticised direct comparison between men and women’s sport, Morgan added: “That’s not why she shouldn’t have won. Last year, Beth Mead was deserved winner because the Lionesses won the Euros, but this year they lost the World Cup Final and failed to qualify for the Olympics. Many men more deserving – esp McIlroy, Dettori, O’Sullivan, Broad.”

McIlroy played a key role in Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph in Rome, although his long wait for a fifth major title goes on. O’Sullivan did not claim the snooker world title although he did win the UK Championship, 30 years on from his first. Dettori enjoyed a renaissance aged 52 with a host of wins including the Gold Cup, while Broad signed off his cricket career in fairytale fashion with a wicket to win the last men’s Ashes Test of the summer.

They were all nominated, but the public voted overwhelmingly in favour of Earps. “Sport is a fantastic thing where it brings the world together and it’s been brilliant to listen to everyone’s stories, so congratulations to you all,” Earps said on stage. “I’m very honoured and humbled, as this is the ultimate all round sporting accolade. We’ve had an incredible couple of years but this is just, wow.”

Morgan was criticised in the summer after a tweet during the World Cup final suggesting there were “a lot of very over-emotional women” on social media.



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