Apparently the news that Formula One motor racing champion Lewis Hamilton was anointed as the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year last weekend has caused a bit of a hoo-hah.
There are a number of professional golfers (professional and otherwise), plus golfing and other sports journalists who, some of them claiming no disrespect intended to Hamilton, others perhaps less gracious, maintain that Rory McIlroy’s feats during 2014 – especially during his purple patch between the Open and the US PGA – were by some margin the greatest sporting achievement of the past 12 months.
Furthermore, some of them have gone on to suggest that, if the Northern Irishman did not deserve the trophy in 2014 then he never will.
Now I’ll be frank. I am no particular worshipper at the shrine of Lewis Hamilton [mind you, if after an Armageddon crisis upon Earth, I was left alone upon a desert island with his squeeze Nicole Sherzinger, I’m reasonably confident that she and I would be able to return the world’s human population to its current figure of 7.2 billion within five years] but I find this mealy-mouthed campaign on behalf of McIlroy’s SPOTY candidacy ill-judged and pathetic.
Having been an avid watcher of the annual BBC Sports Personality Of The Year programme for probably four decades – though I suspect that from the beginning the main attraction for me was more the opportunity to relive the British sporting year than who actually won the award – I stopped watching it completely about five years ago.
The truth is that, down through its history, there have always been supposed injustices and ‘odd’ decisions (to put it mildly) in terms of those who have won not just the main award, but all many others that have proliferated like unattended garden weeds in recent times.
I’m not going to list all of the iffy outcomes, but let’s just make reference to minor members of the Royal Family walking off with the main prize for a starter and finisher.
The uncomfortable fact is that the worlds of artistic, media and television/film awards, let alone sporting ones, are rife with ‘questionable’ outcomes. Horror of horrors – wait for it – most of us suspect that sometimes televised singing, dancing and talent competitions supposedly decided by public vote might in fact be rigged by the producers or authorities in charge, for either prestige, commercial or political reasons.
Most of us would be right.
And what’s so shocking about this, anyway?
Ladies, gentlemen, children … the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year is a programme celebrating a year of sport. You could have a panel of sporting experts deciding the winner solely on merit if you want.
However, the BBC don’t do that.
The clue is in the title – Sports Personality Of The Year.
It’s decided by a public vote … and yes, you effete elitists sneering from your ivory towers … sometimes the people vote on merit and logic, just as you think you do.
But just as often they vote on sentiment; the attractiveness of the candidates’ eyes; whether they and their family enjoyed the takeaway Chinese meal they had last night; whether they feel moved to go against the grain and not vote for the person they think the BBC wants them to vote for.
It’s just a parlour game popularity contest – not a defining, considered, judgement.
Get over it!