Supersport has claimed that the events leading up to Aswhin Willemse walking off the set had nothing with racism. According to a News24 article, they further claimed that the incident was as a result of a technical failure. The sources of these claim appear to be anonymous.
Predictably, the incident has led to a split on social media, mainly along racial lines. The response to the News24 article has received the same response.
Some have used this article to call on Ashwin to apologise to Nick and Naas, and accused those who support him of racism. One user went as far to suggest that Ashwin should apologise to all white people.
Others have questioned the intention of the article with one user suggesting that Naspers, who owns both Supersport and News24, is engaged in a cover-up to protect Nick and Naas.
What do you think? Read what News24 wrote and take the poll below?
Acording News24, the following set of events happened:
- Willemse, Botha and Mallett were all part of the panel that commented on the Lions game (that started at 17:15) as well as the prior game between the Sharks and the Chiefs that started at 15:05.
- Prior to the Sharks game, Mallett and Willemse took up most of the time analysing the teams before kick-off.
- After the Sharks game, all three former Springboks got an opportunity to analyse the game. All three commentators and Mohono wear earpieces through which the producer of the show give instructions.
- At 17:05 the pre-game analysis of the Lions game started, with Mohono telling her guests they would have ten minutes to talk about the game before kick-off.
- Both Mallett and Botha took approximately 90 seconds each to speak about Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies who played in his 100th Super Rugby game.
- After three minutes, the discussion was cut-short without Mohono’s prior knowledge and before she could give Willemse an opportunity to speak.
- Mohono and her guests were all shocked that their segment was cut down from ten to three minutes, before she could ask Willemse’s views. It was disclosed that she and her guests couldn’t hear the producer count down through their earpieces.
- After they were cut short, Botha turned to Willemse and said: “Sorry Ash that you didn’t get a chance to speak”. Willemse did not react and they proceeded to watch the Lions game.
- While they were off-air, Mallett asked the producer and Mohono to go to Willemse first after the game because he did not have a chance to speak prior to the game.
- Willemse walked in-and-out of the studio during the Lions game. A claim on social media that Willemse did not watch the game at all was rubbished by SuperSport, who told Sport24 there was “nothing out of the ordinary about his shift”. He went for smoke breaks and bathroom visits during the game.
- During the half-time analysis of the Lions match, Willemse participated in the on-air discussion.
- After the game, before going on air, Botha said to Willemse: “it’s all yours” and laughed. Sources with knowledge of the dynamic between the presenters told Sport24 it was not an unusual tone for Botha to take. “Three-quarters of the time they are joking with each other.”
- When they went on air, Mohono went straight to Willemse for post-match analysis. Willemse proceeded to ask Botha for his views, until Mallett stepped in and gave his analysis. When Mohono went back to Willemse, he had his flare-up and walked off.
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