Sky Sports warn staff presenters and staff to use BAME acronym

Sky Sports tell presenters and pundits not to use the BAME acronym in ongoing efforts to be more inclusive

  • Staff were briefed on the perception of certain words in different communities
  • Research found that fewer than one per cent of viewers knew what BAME meant
  • Troy Townsend is one person who has addressed Sky staff on inclusive language

Sky Sports have told presenters and pundits to avoid using the acronym BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) as part of their ongoing attempt to encourage more inclusive language.

Sportsmail has learned that the broadcaster’s football staff of 40 were summoned to a Microsoft Teams meeting on Friday in which they were briefed on language use and told to be aware of the importance of understanding how certain words can be perceived in different communities.

The virtual meeting followed the complaint Sky Sports received from Manchester City last week about Roy Keane calling Kyle Walker ‘an idiot’, as revealed by Sportsmail.

Sky Sports held a meeting with staff in order to encourage the use of more inclusive language

The latest Sky Sports virtual meeting between staff came after they had a complaint after Roy Keane called Kyle Walker ‘an idiot’ for giving away a penalty at home against Liverpool

But the meeting is understood to have been planned beforehand and focused on promoting inclusivity rather than on the former Manchester United captain’s name-calling.

In addition to the football meeting, all Sky Sports staff were sent guidance from the Government’s Race Disparity Unit this week that cautioned against use of the phrase BAME. 

Sky Sports’ updated advice to staff follows research showing fewer than one per cent of viewers understood what BAME refers to.

Troy Townsend has spoken to Sky employees previously about using more inclusive language

There is also concern the term could offend people from minority white backgrounds such as the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. 

Sky have not followed the example of the BBC who — in an ‘avoiding racial bias’ training session — told staff to avoid terms such as ‘cakewalk’, ‘nitty gritty’ and ‘uppity’. 

Sky do hold regular conversations with staff about language use. Speakers such as Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend have also been brought in.

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