Jamie Carragher has been suspended by Sky Sports after he spat in the direction of a 14-year-old girl following a brief verbal exchange with the teenager’s father over the result of a football match.

Carragher has proven popular with audiences since he joined Sky Sports as a pundit in 2013 after retiring from playing. But his broadcasting career is hanging in the balance while the station reviews his position as a result of the incident.

The former Liverpool defender had been due to appear on coverage of the Premier League fixture between Stoke and Manchester City on Monday evening but was stood down amid growing calls for his resignation. Carragher expressed his regret after a video was published showing him committing what he called the “worst mistake” of a 25-year career in the public eye.

The footage shows a car pulling up alongside Carragher on a main road following Manchester United’s Premier League match against Liverpool and the former footballer, who wound down his window. The man teased him over Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat against United and at that point Carragher spits into the car. The 14-year-old can be heard complaining that Carragher’s spit had hit her.

A Sky Sports spokesman said: “Sky takes this matter extremely seriously and strongly condemns Jamie’s actions, we have made that clear to him in person today and suspended him from his duties. It falls well below the standards we expect of our people.”

It is understood the 40-year-old Carragher will not appear on Sky Sports coverage for at least the next week as it is determined whether his job, for which he is paid more than £1m a year, will continue.

Carragher is also a columnist for the Telegraph. They did not give any comment on whether he would still be working for them.

Carragher, who played for England 38 times, arrived at London Euston train station on Monday morning before taking a chauffeur motorcycle to the Sky headquarters on the outskirts of the capital. He told reporters he had not realised the 14-year-old girl was in the car.

“I’ll speak to the family again. I’m sorry. I’ll apologise again today properly,” he said. When asked if he had seen the girl in the car, Carragher replied: “I didn’t to be honest, she was leant back. I wish she wasn’t involved. I hate that she was involved more than anything.”

He later appeared on the Sky Sports sister channel Sky News where he watched mobile phone footage of the incident live. “It was a moment of madness, it’s difficult to explain, it was almost an out-of-body thing but you can’t ever behave like that, it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Carragher, whose daughter Mia is around the same age as the girl caught up in the incident, said: “I would find it hard to know what I would say or how I would react if it happened to my daughter. I’ve made mistakes in my 25-year career, but this is the worst one.”

He would not be drawn on whether he thought he deserved to lose his Sky Sports job. In the past, Carragher has used his platform as an analyst to condemn spitting in football. In a column in the Daily Mail in 2015, Carragher wrote: “I was spat at once in my career. It came during a Uefa Cup game against Celta Vigo in 1998 and the player in question was a Russian midfielder called Aleksander Mostovoi. I was shocked more than angry when he did it because I couldn’t believe what had happened.”

The Danish broadcaster TV3 has also dropped Carragher from its coverage of the Champions League match between Manchester United and Sevilla on Tuesday. Peter Nørrelund, head of sport at TV3 Sport, said a decision had not yet been made about Carragher’s long-term future.

“Jamie should have been at Old Trafford for us tomorrow and we have taken him off that,” said Nørrelund. “It would have been like sending him into a lion’s den. I have seen the video and it certainly doesn’t look good.

“I don’t know what will happen [long-term],” he told Danish paper BT. “It is not good behaviour but we are all just human beings. We want to hear from him what happened. That is the same for all employees – whether it is the receptionist or Jamie Carragher – we are not going to sanction someone until we’ve heard from them what happened.”

Blogger/Football Analyst at Sportskick
Michael Okoye is an ardent football fan as well as a writer. He lives somewhere in West Africa with Lions and Leopards for company. He takes interest in football and detests mediocrity in sports writing. He has a massive man crush on Juan Mata. A Chelsea fan and a great lover of wits and sarcasm.
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