Sunderland manager David Moyes has apologized to a female BBC reporter after threatening to “slap” her in a post-match interview, the English Premier League club announced Monday.
Moyes was interviewed by BBC Newcastle and Radio Five reporter Vicki Sparks after northeast struggles Sunderland’s goalless Premier League draw at home to Burnley at their Stadium of Light ground on March 18.
Sparks had asked if Sunderland owner Ellis Short’s presence at the game meant Moyes was under additional pressure, with the Black Cats yet again involved in a battle against relegation. Video footage published by the Daily Star newspaper showed Scottish boss Moyes replying, “No, none at all” before the interview concluded.
The former Everton and Manchester United manager, however, believing he was off camera, added: “You were just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there, so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. “Careful the next time you come in.” Both Moyes and Sparks were seen laughing at this point and the reporter herself did not make a complaint. It is understood that Moyes subsequently apologized during a telephone conversation.
“David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably,” said a Sunderland spokesman. Meanwhile the BBC added the matter had been resolved, with a spokesman saying: “Mr Moyes has apologized to our reporter and she has accepted his apology.”
Moyes’s comments became public just days after he said he expects to remain as Sunderland manager even if the club are relegated at the end of the season. Sunderland remain bottom of the table and eight points adrift of safety following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Watford. They travel to a resurgent Leicester on Tuesday.