PFA's Carlisle says hiring comedian Hunter 'huge mistake'

Reginald D Hunter at the PFA awards

Warning: This story contains language some might find offensive.

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle believes his organisation made "a huge mistake" in hiring comedian Reginald D Hunter to perform at Sunday's awards in London.

The black American performer Hunter used the word 'nigger' during his performance at the PFA dinner at Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair.

"I thought we made a huge mistake," Carlisle said.

"Using a comedian of his type was a gross error in judgement."

Tottenham's Gareth Bale was named the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, while Arsenal Ladies midfielder Kim Little was named the inaugural PFA Women's Player of the Year at the annual awards evening.

Northampton defender Carlisle, who became PFA chairman in 2010, added: "I was embarrassed, sat up there throughout, and I want to apologise unreservedly to the footballing community that was present."

Carlisle revealed that some of the attendees had found Hunter's humour "highly offensive".

"I thought it was inappropriate because we are a union that have fought strongly against racism over years," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I don't want to lambast Reginald Hunter - he's a comedian and will take issues to the edge and beyond,

"Don't get it twisted, comedy is subjective. Some found him funny, some weren't offended, some weren't comfortable and some found it highly offensive.

"He also talked about Jews, Judaism and women, the tone of which I thought was wholly inappropriate."

Carlisle added: "My personal experience of him was on satirical shows. There was an expectation or hope he would cater for his audience. We need to address what kind of prepping we gave him beforehand."

A PFA statement published on Monday said that Hunter had been informed that about 25% of the audience at the awards would be women and that the ages would range from 18 to 80. It added that the American was also told "swearing or any racist references were to be avoided".

Speaking before Carlisle's comments, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said Hunter might have been unaware that racial language had been an "emotive" subject in football in recent times.

"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. He is a professional comedian," Taylor said.

"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."

In February, Football Association ambassador Paul Elliott resigned from all roles representing the organisation and his role at anti-discrimination body Kick It Out following reports of a racism row.

A newspaper report alleged Elliott had a dispute by text message over a business venture with former Charlton player Richard Rufus. Elliott was reported to have used a derogatory term.

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