Take the chance to show sport’s power to change lives – Why Marcus Rashford SHOULD be on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist
- Marcus Rashford has been demonstrating the power of sport to leverage change
- The forward has touched upon the values of humanity, kindness and civility, too
- He has even called out government officials like Health Secretary Matt Hancock
- He could be excluded if the BBC feel the decision will impact their impartiality
- Other options could be Lewis Hamilton, Jordan Henderson or James Anderson
- EXCLUSIVE: Rashford is set to miss out on Sports Personality of the Year shortlist
If it takes place within the usual parameters, this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be a shell of an event — a gathering to celebrate achievements in fields hollowed out by the pandemic. No Olympics. No Euro 2020. Five months of sport played out in ghostly, deserted stadiums.
But through the grim march of recent months, Marcus Rashford has been a saving grace, demonstrating the power of sport to leverage change because of the monumental role it occupies in the lives of millions.
That is why the BBC would be venturing deep into the realms of the ridiculous if it ruled that Rashford’s achievement did not fit within the voting parameters for the award.
Man United’s Marcus Rashford has been demonstrating the power of sport to leverage change
The England international forward’s work to help tackle child poverty, working closely with charity FareShare, has touched upon the values of humanity, kindness and civility, too
In this of all years, the event has a chance to celebrate qualities transcending goals, assists and laps of a track.
Some will no doubt present the specious — and preposterous — argument that shortlisting the 22-year-old would impute some kind of BBC support for what he has had to say about the iniquities of Government social policy.
Rashford’s message has extended way beyond the evidence-based case he has painstakingly posited in support for this country’s poorest children. He has touched upon the values of humanity, kindness and civility, too.
Rashford has led the campaign to combat child food hunger and has been awarded an MBE
The Man United striker visited FareShare Greater Manchester to prepare food deliveries
On Saturday, he posted a message about the abuse that those MPs challenging his view, and their families, had received on Twitter — women in particular.
He knew ‘all too well what that feels like,’ he said. So it must stop.
‘Disappointment is a national reaction but we must rise above it.’ Spoken with the same authenticity and quiet authority which has made his contribution such a compelling part of the national narrative these past few months.
Rashford continued to do more of the same on Monday. He could have lashed out and invited a Twitter pile-on when Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrongly claimed on national television that the Prime Minister had been in touch — when No 10 has actually lacked the decency to respond to Rashford’s request to meet.
Rashford has even called out government officials including Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Boris Johnson admitted he had not spoken to Rashford since the Government u-turn in June
He kept to higher ground, politely but firmly challenging the truth of the minister’s statement.
In the narrowest sporting sense, there are alternative candidates for the BBC’s end-of-year award. Lewis Hamilton, Jordan Henderson, James Anderson.
But none can hold a torch to the spirit and sense of Rashford — a footballer who has shown that sport can challenge, shine a light and play a part.