Nine’s the Sunday Footy Show has been slammed for “fat-shaming” former NRL star Dave Taylor on yesterday’s show.
Taylor is a former Queensland and Australian star, however, his weight has ballooned since he ended his first-grade playing career.
The 30-year-old now plays the Central Queensland Capras in the second-tier Intrust Super Cup and is noticeably heavier from his playing days with first-grade clubs such as Brisbane, South Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Yesterday, Footy Show hosts mercilessly mocked Taylor’s weight, awarding him the show’s ‘Gutsy Player of the Week’.
“He was a gun player in his day, wasn’t he?’ host Erin Molan asked the show’s panel.
“What an athlete,” NSW coach Brad Fittler responded sarcastically.
Fellow host Joel Caine added: “Well Dave, look, it’s a three-letter word, fit, OK, but it’s very easy to turn the ‘i’ into an ‘a’, that’s all I’m saying, get that ‘a” back to an ‘i’.”
However, the segment immediately drew criticism from viewers who said it had “fat shamed” Taylor and it was double standards as it would never dare do it to a female athlete.
One viewer tweeted: “God bless the double standards with shaming a male with weight as opposed to a female.” While another added: “That is one of the reason(s) why Australia has (one of) the highest male suicide rates in the world today.”
Another said: “Disgraceful, shaming someone about their body! Just imagine the uproar if you did that to a female. Try growing up, and be more respectful.”
While other sympathised with Taylor’s struggles with his weight: “You guys are the reason I always feel ashamed when I’m at the gym working out, knowing people are laughing.”
Channel Nine declined B&T’s offer to comment.