The BBC has been forced to apologize after a member of the Cambridge rowing team swore during its Boat Race coverage yesterday, April 3. Cox Jasper Parish could be heard celebrating the women’s record-breaking Boat Race win by shouting “f*** yeah! “.
There was no on-air apology when the race was broadcast on BBC1 at around 2:30pm yesterday, but commentator Andrew Cotter acknowledged the incident by saying: “Let’s roll down the fader on Jasper there.” Presenter Clare Balding didn’t comment.
Now the BBC has issued a statement apologizing for the outburst, reports The Mirror. A spokesman said: “Due to the nature of live sport broadcasts, unfortunately bad language can sometimes be overheard. We apologize for any offense caused.”
Catch up on all of our coverage of the 2022 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race here
The swearing occurred in the midst of a controversial race in which Oxford protested the result due to ‘aggressive coxing’ from Parish, who admitted to such behaviour. Oxford cox Joe Gellett appealed to umpire John Garrett at the finishing line, insisting Cambridge had ‘cut right in front’ of Oxford at the mile post.
Garrett agreed it was aggressive steering, but he deemed it was not sufficient to award a disqualification. While Parish was shivering after his traditional ducking in the Thames, he said: “I pushed the limits of what you can do, and I suppose, in the moment, you think you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win the race
“At the end of the day, the Boat Race rules are quite lenient on moving over. The only way you can be disqualified is by making contact and I don’t think there was a point in the race where I was seriously worried about that.”
Parish was not asked about his bad language. The 18-year-old’s brother Ollie competed for Cambridge in the men’s race.
It is not the first time the BBC have been caught up in drama surrounding X-rated language. The broadcasters have been previously censored for bad language during the Boat Race as Ofcom ruled in 2013 that swearing during its coverage had been inappropriate for a traditional sporting event shown on a Sunday afternoon ‘when children were likely to be watching’.
The BBC subsequently launched an investigation after viewers complained about the word ‘f***’ being consistently broadcast, with people questioning why steps had not been implemented to cut the feed from the coxes’ microphones. Unlike yesterday, the language in 2013 prompted several on-air apologies from Cotter.
At the time, the BBC said coxes were warned each year to avoid swearing and promised to install a new system that would see more than one instance of sweating result in a cut to the broadcast. Such action was not taken yesterday, which was the first Boat Race held in London since 2019 due to the coronavirus crisis.
Cambridge’s victory in the women’s race was a course record of 18 minutes and 22 seconds. Oxford claimed victory in the men’s race.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.