PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has admitted he is embarrassed over the gross error of judgement that saw the selection of controversial comedian Reginald D Hunter as the entertainment for the PFA Awards dinner.

Hunter repeatedly used the n-word, including jokes about Luis Suarez, in his set at the awards, which saw Gareth Bale scoop both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.

The incident comes at the end of the year when the PFA has been at the centre of race storms involving John Terry, Ashley Cole, Anton Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand and Suarez, and Carlisle apologised for the booking.

 
Ill-advised: Reginald D Hunter, performing last night, drew criticism for his heavy use of the n-word

Ill-advised: Reginald D Hunter, performing last night, drew criticism for his heavy use of the n-word

 

 
Reginald D. Hunter during the PFA Player of the Year Awards 2013 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
 
 
 
Reginald D. Hunter during the PFA Player of the Year Awards 2013 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
Reginald D. Hunter during the PFA Player of the Year Awards 2013 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
 

Controversial: The booking of Hunter by the PFA was criticised in light of recent racial abuse scandals

Furious: PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle, presenting Bale with his award, said he was embarrassed by the event

Furious: PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle, presenting Bale with his award, said he was embarrassed by the event

 

 

‘As the chairman I am embarrassed. I apologise unreservedly and it won’t happen again on my watch,’ said Carlisle.

‘I thought that we made a really gross error in judgement in who we selected for our entertainment last night. I was embarrassed.

‘All that has gone on in football over the past few years, with everything that we purport to stand for, his set was inappropriate, it really was.

‘It took the focus away from what should have been a momentous occasion for both Gareth Bale and Kim Little.

‘I am not going to lambast Reginald D Hunter and what he does because comedy is subjective and if that is his repertoire, to take issues like race and Judaism to the nth degree, then that is entirely up to him.

‘My experience of him is on the satirical shows where he is probably milder than he is when down the comedy club. But the situation last night was that it wasn’t a comedy club. It is the showpiece of the year where you have got the whole spectrum of races and cultures and the whole spectrum of the footballing family. And it is supposed to be a celebration and I think that we got that totally wrong.

 
Joke: The comedian retweeted a sarcastic message posted by the PFA regarding the uproar over his set

Joke: The comedian retweeted a sarcastic message posted by the PFA regarding the uproar over his set

 
 
Defence: Gordon Taylor, with winner Gareth Bale, insists it was not a mistake to book Hunter

Defence: Gordon Taylor, with winner Gareth Bale, insists it was not a mistake to book Hunter

 
Big name: Hunter appeared on the BBC's Have I Got News For You with Paul Merton on Friday

Big name: Hunter appeared on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You with Paul Merton on Friday

 

 

 

It’s not the first time…

Read Martin Samuel’s column from 2010 about Warren Mitchell’s controversial appearance at the Football Writers’ Association here

‘It was a massive mistake by the PFA and I am embarrassed because he was facetious about the issues that we feel really strongly about.

‘From a personal point of view I am embarrassed about what was put forward, I am embarrassed about this man coming forward and saying that in the name of entertainment.

Carlisle admitted the debacle involving Hunter’s performance may stop the dinner hosting a comedian in the future.

‘We have to have to address whether we bother with a comedian in future because it is not the first year that our entertainment has fallen on its face,’ he said.

‘And if we do, we need to vet far more strongly who we do recruit and prep them before they go on stage about what we feel is suitable for the audience we have in the room.

‘I am going to sit down with my compatriots at the PFA at the earliest opportunity. Everyone stayed over last night. Last night was a celebration and people let their hair down. We wanted them to get home safely and tomorrow the discussions will start.

‘I want to apologise unreservedly to all who were offended. The way that some of the issues that we have felt strongly about over the last few years were addressed and used last night meant it was a real error on our part to put that on stage.’

The PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor had dismissed criticism of Hunter’s booking, saying: ‘No, no, don’t be silly. Are you serious? I think there were a few raised eyebrows over the comedian, but that is the sort of thing you can’t control. It was unfortunate.

 
Neville
Muamba
 

Star-studded: Gary Neville (left), Fabrice Muamba (right) and Robin van Persie (below, with his wife) attended

 
 
 
Robin van Persie

‘He is a professional comedian. It’s a difficult subject in football and with him not being fully aware of how emotive it has been in football, that was probably a difficulty for him.’

The PFA’s official Twitter account also released a sarcastic message over criticism of the act, which Hunter himself then retweeted.

It read: ‘we’ve checked all our social media guidelines & still don’t know whether we were allowed to enjoy that set!’

But Carlisle admitted that Hunter’s appointment was a mistake, saying the players’ union should have undertaken the proper research before booking an act.

‘I am not going to come out against Gordon. He is going to say what he said,’ said Carlisle.

‘My personal view is that knowing what we have come through in football it is not a difficulty for us to not to book Reginald D Hunter when his repertoire is out there for all to see.’

Lord Ouseley, chairman of anti-racism group Kick it Out, said the PFA need to explain why Hunter was booked.

‘It sounds to me that the PFA needs to answer questions about how they booked this person and why they booked this person,’ he told the Telegraph.

‘I’m surprised there wasn’t a mass walkout. It almost begs the question, “Why does Kick It Out bother?”‘

All smiles: But Hunter, leaving the awards dinner last night, admitted his act hadn't gone down well

All smiles: But Hunter, leaving the awards dinner last night, admitted his act hadn’t gone down well

The PFA profiled Hunter on their website before his stint at the awards, saying: ‘the American born comic will bring his unique style of no nonsense comedy to the event.

‘Hunter is well known for his jokes that ring true and attempt to shake viewers suppositions.

‘It will be a first appearance for Hunter at the PFA Awards though and no doubt he will have some topical content for PFA members and business partners to enjoy.’

FA chairman David Bernstein, who stripped Terry of the England captaincy after allegations of racial abuse towards Anton Ferdinand, was one of the dignitaries who squirmed his way through Hunter’s extraordinary act.

Amazingly, the comedian opened his act with a joke about Suarez, one of six players named on the official PFA shortlist. The Liverpool striker was banned for eight games after he racially abused Patrice Evra and was an invited guest at the annual dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Paul Elliott, who had to step down from his role at the FA after racially abusing Richard Rufus, was also among the attendees.

The comedian admitted that his act had not gone down well with guests.

VIDEO Reginald D Hunter appearing on Have I Got News For You on Friday

 

Comic appears on BBC’s Have I Got News for You

 

THE PFA SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT WAS COMING…

His full biography, according to his official website: www.reginalddhunter.co.uk

Unassuming. Provocative. Raw. Fresh. And funny. Don’t forget funny.

Reginald D. Hunter is an American born comic who has been residing in the United Kingdom since the age of 27, when the classically trained theater student did his first stand-up on a dare. That experience derailed his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Hunter shifted from acting to stand-up.

He makes people uncomfortable, shaking their suppositions and airing plenty of his own dirty laundry. If his television appearances have presented him as a comic of companionable yet risque wit, then Hunter’s stand-up proves him a hard hitting pugilist. His jokes ring true and often hit very close to home. The Times called him ‘Comically astute, rewardingly provocative’.

 

Star: Hunter (right) on the BBC's Live at the Apollo with fellow comics Julian Clary (left) and Omid Djalili

 

Star: Hunter (right) on the BBC’s Live at the Apollo with fellow comics Julian Clary (left) and Omid Djalili

Born in 1969 in Albany, Georgia, Hunter’s early life experiences as a boy growing up in the deep south influence his work and sharply contrasts with his life as an American black man in England. Global politics, the cultural variances from both sides of the pond, sex and relationships all provide fodder for his muse. His style is honest, his material is controversial, and his delivery … well see it for yourself.

In November 2011, Hunter released his first DVD Live, recorded at two sell-out shows from London’s iconic HMV Hammersmith Apollo earlier that year. He supported that release with a wildly successful tour, playing to sold out audiences throughout the UK, that was extended with an encore tour in early 2012. Live was produced and distributed by Universal.

 
 

Tight-lipped: Hunter is a regular on British television

 

Tight-lipped: Hunter is a regular on British television

Even the titles of Hunter’s tours have caused controversy. He won the Writers’ Guild Award for Comedy in 2006 for his show Pride and Prejudice… and N****s, and played to capacity crowds during his tour with Trophy N****, although many venues wouldn’t post the name of the show and the London Underground banned the promo posters.

 

Hunter was nominated for the Perrier Award in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, where in 1998 he was a finalist in the So You Think You’re Funny Competition.

Hunter has been a consistent presence in British television with regular appearances on Have I Got News For You (BBC), Live at the Apollo (BBC 1), It’s Only A Theory (BBC 4) (Reg did the complete series), 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4) and has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 comedy show The Unbelievable Truth.

 
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