Eric Young in trouble for tweet to Ostapchuk

By Kieran Campbell

Veteran broadcaster Eric Young has been scolded for an expletive-laden tweet calling for Olympics drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk to hand over her shot put gold medal.

Young, who was contracted by Sky Television for its Olympics coverage on Prime, was pressured into deleting the Twitter comment, which he posted last night when it was announced New Zealand Valerie Adams was awarded the gold medal.

Young's bosses are still deciding on whether Young should be disciplined for his tweet, which was directed at the Belarussian shot putter who was stripped of her gold medal after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

"Dear Nadzeya," the tweet read. "You f***ing cheating cow. Hand it over you b****. Love, New Zealand."

After later deleting it, Young, who tweets under the username @RealEricYoung to 1500 followers, posted: "Sorry if some of you didn't appreciate my passionate language but the truth is Val had her moment stolen by a cheat."

Bosses at Sky Television were not impressed.

"It was disappointing to see that language used in a tweet and it certainly is against Sky Television's policies to use language like that," head of corporate communications Kirsty Way said.

"Although I think Eric's followers may have seen the humour in it and many people may have seen the humour in it, especially when it's read in context with all of his tweets."

Ms Way said Young was still discussing the matter with his immediate boss and no discipline had been decided.

"We've spoken to Eric and expressed the fact that we're not happy with the tweet and we're pleased to see the apology," she said.

Ms Way said there had been no backlash from Prime viewers.

Last night's tweet, though it ruffled the feathers of some, was also defended as accurately reflecting the mood of New Zealanders that Adams had been robbed of her golden moment in London.

"Passionate and patriotic. We're with ya on this one," Susan McKone said.

"You're only saying what the rest of us are thinking," Nellie Lesa added.

Others were unforgiving, describing the language and attitude as "totally uncalled for" and "a bit rough".

"I can't imagine anyone will be letting him write his Prime News scripts anytime soon," the Throng NZ account tweeted.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee was contacted for comment but its representatives were on flights home.

In August last year Young caused a stir when he was caught giving rude finger gestures to the camera, which was broadcast on the Prime news bulletin.

- APNZ

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