Dutch football captains lead boycott against longstanding sports show

Dutch football captains lead boycott against longstanding sports show

The captains of the Dutch men’s, women’s and youth national football teams are leading a boycott against Veronica Inside, a Dutch sports TV show. Their actions come after a longstanding pundit recently made racist comments on the show.

Dutch captains boycott sports show

Virgil van Dijk and Sari van Veenendaal, captains of the men and women national football teams, have led calls to boycott the leading Dutch sports TV show, Veronica Inside. This is in response to the behaviour of one of the show’s pundits, Johan Derkson, which has continually been explained away as straight-talking humour.

Derkson, a former player, has been involved in a number of controversies during his time on the show including comparing Sylvana Simons, a Surinamese-born politician, to a monkey as well as claiming that the standard of amateur football is under threat by the rising number of players of Moroccan heritage. Derkson’s outbursts have previously been excused as the show claims it believes in freedom of expression.

Football players and advertisers join the boycott

In a joint statement, that has been backed by both current and ex-players, the football captains wrote: “This is no longer on the brink. This has nothing to do with humour anymore. This is not the language of football. This is over the line. Not for the first time. Not for the second time. Time and time again. Enough is enough.”

Advertisers have also threatened to join the boycott in response to recent comments from Derkson, who likened a man wearing blackface in order to dress up as Zwarte Piet to a well-known Dutch activist. Maiko Valentijn, chief executive of MediaCom, which buys airtime for advertisers in the Netherlands, described the situation as at breaking point. “Our advertisers deserve an explanation on how to prevent their advertising from ending up in an environment of "content" that is diametrically opposed to what these brands stand for,” he said.

Derkson denies being racist and has refused to apologise for his recent comments. “The Netherlands is in very bad shape when internationals and advertisers determine the content of programmes,” he said. A spokesperson for Talpa Network, the creator of Veronica Inside, said, “the statements within Veronica Inside are for the account of the people at the table. Veronica is for freedom of expression and against deliberately hurting fellow people or people groups.”

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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