The Scottish Sun reports that Rangers have responded to the reinstatement of Michael Stewart by BBC Scotland, as the row between the two organisations rages on.
The Gers have a longstanding dispute with the BBC which greatly restricts their access to the club, while over the last few years, Bears have frequently called into question the impartiality of the broadcaster’s coverage.
The latest add-on to the row centres around pundit, Stewart, who on Tuesday was cleared to return to BBC platforms following talks.
He had been absent from all output since the beginning of February after a controversial rant aimed at Rangers PR chief, Jim Traynor, which forced his employers into an apology [Scottish Herald]
However, the Beeb claim that now Stewart has agreed to be ‘forthright, but fair’ in his analysis – which should already have been a prerequisite – he will return to work.
BBC Scotland update on Michael Stewart. pic.twitter.com/F4dkohXNuu
— BBC Scotland Corp (@bbcscotcorp) February 25, 2020
It’s a decision that doesn’t appear to have gone down well at Ibrox.
No statement has been made via official channels, but the Scottish Sun have published a lengthy response said to have been given to them by the Gers.
“We note BBC Scotland’s comment about Michael Stewart and we also note they have had to remind him about their guidelines around fairness and accuracy,” the statement reads.”That they have had to do so, makes it clear he was neither fair nor accurate during his outburst which was broadcast on radio.”
“It is important to remember that during that broadcast he was dismissive of any racist behaviour towards Alfredo Morelos during the last Old Firm match.
“That the BBC is now happy to allow this contributor a return to their platforms even though he has shown no remorse or offered an apology to Rangers, Alfredo Morelos, or James Traynor, who has been attacked online and also physically, defies belief.”
In terms of action, it seems that Rangers will now take a step back from any reconciliation talks with the broadcaster, with their dispute becoming more entrenched.
“This also tells us that BBC Scotland has no wish to resolve our long-standing issues, which are of course around fairness and accuracy,” continues the statement, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“In light of this Rangers will not now resume discussions on resolving those issues with the BBC.”
It is remarkable that no apologies have yet been issued by Stewart in this instance. His absence from BBC scheduling over the past three weeks and the wording of the organisation’s statement acknowledges that he was in the wrong whilst on air.
However, other than a temporary suspension, there appears to have been little in the way of repercussions.
Had there been a firmer stance taken by the BBC on this matter, it may have provided the impetus for constructive discussions about ending their dispute with the club.
Yet, as things stand, it looks as though the incident has only added fuel to the fire.
There’ll be plenty of scrutiny on Stewart’s punditry upon his return, but it appears that in prioritising his reinstatement, the Beeb have, for the meantime, ensured there’s no route back for the organisation at Ibrox.