Sunset NBC

LFCNY have been working with other OLSC's across North America on the #SunsetNBC campaign, asking NBC to end their support for, and promotion of, The Sun newspaper on their Premier League coverage.  Today, we sent this letter to NBC

Sunset NBC

 

Date: May 4th 2018

Recipients:

Comcast Board of Directors
Brian Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation
Alisa Shudofsky – Senior Vice President, Compliance
Mark Lazarus – Chairman, NBC Broadcasting & Sports, NBCUniversal
Greg Hughes – Senior Vice President, Communications
Jon Miller – President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN
Dan Masonson – Vice President, Communications
Gaby Nuñez – Director, Sports Publicity
Stephen Burke – EVP and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group
Adam Littlefield – Senior Producer of Live Content for English Premier League
Sam Flood – Executive Producer & President, Production
Pierre Moossa – Coordinating Producer, NBC Sports Group Premier League
Dan Steir – SVP & Sr. Coordinating Producer
Dan Lovinger – EVP, Advertising Sales, NBC Sports Group
Ken Goss – SVP, Remote Operations & Production Planning NBC Sports, NBCSN
Rick Cordella – EVP and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group
Joe Prince-Wright, NBC Sports presenter
Chris McCloskey – Vice President – NBC Sports Group Communications
Alex Rozis – Senior Director – NBC Sports Group Communications
Carol Ko – Senior Director – NBC Sports Group Communications
Jamie Palatini – Publicist – NBC Sports Group Communications
Leah Luchetti – Publicist – NBC Sports Group Communications
Stephanie Herring – Publicist – NBC Sports Group
Laura Hannon – Sr. Director – NBC Sports Boston
Maureen Quilter – Senior Director – NBC Sports Philadelphia, Communications
Jeff Nuich – Senior Director – NBC Sports Chicago
Jaimee Bremner – NBC Sports Northwest
Jay Dela Cruz – Director, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California

Dear Sirs and Madams:

We the undersigned supporters of English club football, as representatives of the below-named Supporters Clubs, write today to express our shared concern over NBCUniversal’s decision to provide a platform to Neil Ashton, the Chief football reporter for the UK tabloid The Sun, on NBC Sports Network’s (“NBCSN”) program entitled ‘Best of the Backpages,’ as well as through his role contributing to NBC Sports’ reporting on world football.

Put plainly, Ashton’s employment with The Sun and his use of NBCSN’s airwaves to amplify The Sun’s reach to North America, raise substantial questions about his character and credibility. Likewise, NBCSN’s decision to permit a Sun employee to participate in the creation of the network’s Premier League coverage reveals what can only be viewed as a troubling lack of understanding with respect to The Sun’s legacy in Britain and the reputation it has earned among football supporters across the world.

The Sun has time and again proven itself incapable of acting in good faith, instead revealing a commitment to sensationalist journalism, careless reporting and the publication of known falsities for the purpose of selling newspapers. Its vile reporting on the Hillsborough Disaster – purporting to reveal ‘The Truth’ while peddling outright falsities – revealed The Sun to be wildly unfit for consumption, and there it stays.

As we now know, due to the tireless efforts of Hillsborough families who were too long denied justice, the events of April 15, 1989, were shaped by shocking and unconscionable failures of law enforcement officials, causing the deaths of 96 football fans and the infliction of irrevocable harm to those fans that survived. As we now know, the events following April 15, 1989, were shaped by the willingness of South Yorkshire Police to falsify witness statements, to proffer falsified results of blood alcohol tests, to alter police reports, to consistently and repeatedly lie so that suspicions of guilt would fall on the victims of the disaster, while the failures and culpability of local police would remain shrouded from public view.

The success of the South Yorkshire Police’s twenty-three-year coverup relied on publications like The Sun to parrot the “official” story provided by the police. The Sun played a crucial role in spreading the lies surrounding Hillsborough, provided significant political cover for public officials who had breached the public trust, and most disgustingly laid blame for the deaths of 96 football fans at the feet of survivors and the 96 themselves.

The apologies issued by the paper in more recent years – attempts at mea culpa some 15 years after the 96 perished – have done little to assure the undersigned that The Sun and its employees have any value to add to sports journalism. Such apologies, declaring that it is time to move forward, chiding Hillsborough families and Liverpool supporters for remaining dedicated to the task of holding power to account, ring hollow and have not been accepted on Merseyside. Knowing now the role that The Sun played in slandering football fans whose only sin was going to a football match, how can NBCSN be comfortable with promoting the viewpoint of a Sun employee? How can NBCSN expect those with knowledge of Hillsborough to remain dedicated to watching NBCSN or NBC Sports online streams when the content provided reflects work done by Mr. Ashton?

Ultimately, the preceding summary of The Sun’s mistreatment of Hillsborough victims and assistance in furthering the cover up has been documented elsewhere, so objections such as the ones voiced here can surely not be a surprise to Mr. Ashton or your network. NBCSN itself covers the annual Hillsborough memorials before matches at Anfield, and has discussed the impact of Hillsborough on English football. Former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann, while on an NBCSN segment entitled ‘Remembering Hillsborough,’ criticized British media for its Hillsborough reporting. While Didi neglected to name The Sun specifically, the insinuation was clear. NBCSN’s programming has honored the victims of Hillsborough, has conceded that The Sun and others lied, and presents the history of Hillsborough as the tragedy it most certainly was, and as one of the most challenging and destructive events in LFC’s history. In no small part because of the lasting impact on supporters who were being told time and again by The Sun that they were to blame for the deaths of their brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, friends. Why, then, must there be any debate over whether The Sun still merits a seat at the English football roundtable? They forfeited that place long ago.

The people of Liverpool and, by extension, the global network of Liverpool Football Club supporters, have spent the better part of three decades advocating for the memories of those we lost at Hillsborough. In commenting on the ESPN 30 for 30 Hillsborough episode, US sports writer Matt Yoder, writes: “You can see the struggle for justice in their eyes and the toll that…years of mourning and injustice has taken. Looking into their eyes shakes you to the core and tells you this is far more than a soccer story, it’s a story about human rights.”

It is not only on Hillsborough where the The Sun has been on the wrong side of human rights. The same Sun editor who posted the lies about the victims of that tragedy called Ross Barkley, a player of African descent, a gorilla and displayed his photo alongside that of the animal. That racist jibe was accompanied by further slurs on the City of Liverpool and resulted in The Sun being completely banned by Everton Football Club. Clubs such as Tranmere and Chester and 70 supporters groups belonging to the Football Supporters Federation, whose membership is over 500,000 fans, also joined the boycott. The Sun has never limited its scope to only English football, of course. None other than the United Nations Human Rights Director brought attention to the tabloid after it called migrants
“cockroaches” and advocated the use of gunboats to stop people fleeing bloodshed and poverty. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance highlighted The Sun’s habitual use of “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology” toward minorities, including Muslims and the LGBTQ community.

This pattern of hateful rhetoric from The Sun is obviously counter to your stated corporate values: “At NBCUniversal, we’re imagining and creating the world we want to see. Innovative. Inclusive. Better for our viewers and communities.”

NBCSN has had enormous influence in growing interest for European football in America, and on the question of whether The Sun should have any influence over our conversations about this sport we all love, we urge you to listen, to lead, and to uphold your own values.

Absent action removing Ashton and The Sun itself from NBCSN’s programming, on cable, radio and online, the undersigned will be recommending to their Supporters Clubs that Premier League coverage on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports apps should be avoided and that further protests should be undertaken to highlight this issue. We cannot in good conscience continue our support of your programming so long as you continue your association with The Sun and its employees.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – New York City
Signee Name: Gareth Watford
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Orlando, Florida
Signee Name: Rob Bickerstaff
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Signee Name: Emily Cizinski
Signee Title: OLSC Co-Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Signee Name: Joseph Fleming, Jr. and Nathan Gilmer
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman and Vice Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Chicago
Signee Name: Kevin Achettu
Signee Title: OLSC Co-Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Denver
Signee Name: Eben Dennis
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Indianapolis
Signee Name: Trey Higdon & Bryan Smith
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman & Vice Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Cincinnati
Signee Name: Kevin Jackson
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Saint Louis
Signee Name: Isabel Briones
Signee Title: OLSC Chair

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – San Francisco
Signee Name: Socorro Franco and Aman Parikh
Signee Title: OLSC Chair and Secretary

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Milwaukee
Signee Name: Jo Jones & Andy Braun
Signee Title: OLSC President & Vice President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Washington, D.C.
Signee Name: Nick Coughlin
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Boston
Signee Name: Ian Gunniss
Signee Title: OLSC Chairperson

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Los Angeles
Signee Name: Brian Montano
Signee Title: OLSC Chair

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Richmond, Virginia
Signee Name: Ryan Drake
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – New Haven, CT
Signee Name: Andrew Shetty and Michael Greer
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman and Vice-Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – San Diego, CA
Signee Name: Steven McGlynn
Signee Title: OLSC Chair

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Atlanta, GA
Signee Name: Michael Crump
Signee Title: OLSC Co-Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – South Carolina
Signee Name: Jim Lynch
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Dallas/Ft. Worth
Signee Name: Austin Greer
Signee Title: OLSC Board Member

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – The Palm Beaches
Signee Name: Glen Hart
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Phoenix, Arizona
Signee Name: Alfonso González
Signee title: OLSC President

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – San Francisco Bay Area
Signee Name: Philip Ko
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Columbus
Signee Name: Matthew Fisher
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporters Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Seattle
Signee Name: Jeff Danner
Signee Title: OLSC Secretary

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – San Antonio
Signee Name: Shane Falkingham
Signee Title: OLSC Chairman

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Raleigh
Signee Name: Ken Kendra
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Tampa Bay
Signee Name: Mindy Mallory
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Detroit
Signee Name: Daniel Marcaccio
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Carlsbad, CA – North San Diego County
Signee Name: Amy Kate Sokoll
Signee Title: OLSC Chairwoman

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Austin
Signee Name: Steven L Wilson
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Charlotte NC
Signee Name: Lauryn Bewlay, Nick Zvanut, Levi Anthes, & Carlos Quevedo
Signee Title: OLSC President, Treasurer, Secretary, & Founder

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Durham Region
Signee Name: Wayne Banks
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Toronto
Signee Name: Dave Ferrisey
Signee Title: OLSC President

Supporter Group Name: Official Liverpool Supporters Club – Philadelphia
Signee Name: Randall Elder
Signee Title: OLSC President

Recent Comments
  • Nick Peacock says:

    Please end your support for this atrocious publication.

  • Billy Reid says:

    As an active Liverpool supporter of almost 60 years and somebody who is 100% behind the “Total eclipse of the Sun” let’s not make this personal against Neil Ashton to speak of his character and credibility when you do not know him I feel is out of order,I am fully behind your efforts to rid us of the rag in any shape or form but Neil Ashton is not part of Hillsborough history.

  • Eric Baratta says:

    Please end your association with The Sun.

  • Rob Cheetha says:

    Would just like to say I’ve just read your letter to NBCSN and Mr Gareth Watford and to all members of the New York & surrouding States have my respect & Full support. God bless you all.

  • Kevin says:

    How can they misread this situation? How can you not know what the scum Rag represents and the feeling the people of Liverpool have for that Rag, not to mention the supporters and people of other clubs and city’s. They need to act on this and quickly. ITS A DISGRACE

  • Richie Lunt says:

    Hear, hear

    #jft96 #dontbuythesun #sunsetnbc

  • Never forgive never forget says:

    Don’t buy or read or affiliate with this rag of a so called newspaper it prints nothing but lies and spews out sponsored propaganda for murdoch and his Tory government still to this day it’s not sold in Liverpool nor it’s journalists welcome and the feeling is the same around the country 96 people lost their lives and this rag smeared not only the deceased the people family friends and a city who fought long and hard to get justice and this rag and it’s people from minutes after the biggest football disaster in Britain looked to blame the people of Liverpool who won the fight and some never lived to see their loved ones cleared of the smear campaign this rag and the Thatcher government tarnished them with as drunken yobs hooligans etc
    Don’t buy the s*n don’t read the s*n don’t belive the s*n I hope these emails comments will not fall on deaf ears because what you have as a partnership with this rag is like a deal with the devil #JFT96

  • Luis J Garcia says:

    Agree

  • Leave a comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *