Concrete: Following Jack Wilshere’s confession to smoking a cigarette, do you think that athletes have a responsibility to not engage in such activities?
Dwayne: I remember back in the day when Michael Owen was condemned for eating a kebab. It’s just a case of journalists making a mountain out of a molehill. However, whilst athletes are people too and free to do what they please, I believe they should think about the consequences of what they do, simply because of the impressionable effect athletes in the public eye can have.
C: With the racism debate concerning the name of the NFL team Washington Redskins continuing to mount, is it reasonable to suggest that the club should be forced to change their name of over 80 years?
D: Yes. American sports in general run as a franchise and in many cases whole teams have been relocated across the country to more prolific areas. For example, the Tennessee Titans used to be known as the Houston Oilers. Currently there are conversations flying around with regards to relocating the Jacksonville Jaguars to the UK. So, in the grand scheme of things, there could be worse problems for the Redskins than changing their name!
C: The new president of Union Cycliste Internationale, Brian Cookson, has said that he wants to ‘develop women’s cycling.’ Why do you think that the majority of women’s sports are still in need of attracting bigger audiences?
D: Professional sport is inextricably linked with media and sponsorship; it’s a golden triangle. Unfortunately, women’s sport in general is deemed less watchable than men’s sport, and therefore doesn’t attract a big audience, resulting in less media coverage and sponsorship. So, on one level, women’s sport needs larger audiences to generate more money from private funding sources in order to develop further.
C: Given the problems surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup, with construction workers dying in what has been called ‘modern-day slavery’ and the tournament likely to be moved to winter, would you take the tournament away from the country?
D: There is definitely more to the World Cup than simply football, which is touched upon through the issues raised in this question. There are always well-documented uncertainties in the build up to huge sporting events. However, as shown on many recent occasions, the host nation will respond triumphantly. While the pressure is mounting against the current World Cup plans, I think Qatar deserves to remain the hosts of the 2022 tournament.
C: Ronnie O’Sullivan recently claimed that he was offered £20,000 to fix a snooker match in 2003. How would you react if you were to become a recognised player in your chosen sport and were offered good money to fix a match?
D:When sport is fixed it effectively becomes entertainment, as opposed to a competitive contest that is fair and offers unpredictability regardless of the odds. As a sports person, I would never willingly be involved in a match fixing scam. Putting my team in a detrimental position for financial gain wouldn’t appeal to me.