Tony Veitch on the comeback trail

Tony Veitch is to begin the resurrection of his broadcasting career this week on Sky TV. I agree with the proposition that Veitch should be allowed to get on with his life, including returning to work. It seems his trial on assault charges will be delayed, perhaps into next year, and in the meantime there’s a presumption of innocence that must hold. [Tony Veitch's TV comeback, HoS, 15 Feb]

Veitch has already had his “trial by media” with the assault allegations being thoroughly aired last year in the period between the story breaking in The Dominion Post (July) and the time he was charged with the offences (August).

He has a right to earn a living by doing what he is good at. However, I’m a little less sanguine about Tony’s nomination as “sports presenter of the year” in the TV Guide annual awards.

It’s one of those situations where it’s hard to separate the personal from the professional and it also re-raises the whole “role model” issue. In my view it brings the whole process of nomination and judging of the awards into some doubt. There’s a popular vote for the TV Guide awards, so if Tony Veitch wins it might seem, to some, to be a vindication of him as a person(ality).

It’s also likely to again ignite debate about Kiwi attitudes towards domestic violence, particularly in relation to the pervasive sports culture of the nation. In other words, the whole situation is fraught with risk, both for Tony and for TV Guide.

The question remains: If Tony Veitch wins the award is it being given because he’s an outstanding sports broadcaster, or is it a public vote of sympathy for a man who’s been through the wringer over the past eight months?

The editor of TV Guide, Julie Eley, told me in an email, that the magazine is comfortable with Tony’s nomination:

“Why wouldn’t we nominate him.  The Best on the Box awards are about people’s contribution to television over the past 12 months. There is no doubt that Tony is a very talented broadcaster [and] was a significant player in TVNZ’s sports coverage until his resignation in August.”

That’s true. Tony is a talented sports journalist and popular with the public. However, If I was running the TV Guide awards I would probably have disallowed Tony’s nomination, but only because I think that the reputation and credibility of the process is at stake. There’s also the fact that Tony’s been off-air since July last year and so his performance cannot be judged equally against those who worked the entire year.

If I were Tony, I’d probably also ask that my name be taken off the nominations list. It’s a no-win situation for him. If he wins the title it will be seen as a tainted award, if he doesn’t win it’s a further embarrassment that he can well do without.

This is one of those “It’ll all end in tears” scenarios where all the winners are losers. I can’t see how there can be a happy ending.

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4 Responses to Tony Veitch on the comeback trail

  1. Medusa says:

    Your second last para says it all really, although I can’t see him voluntarily taking his name off the list. Gets him some “good” press for a change but to be honest, as you said, to be a fair competitor, surely he needs to play the whole competition to be an eligible and if so, worthy??? winner in the end.

    Will be disappointing if he wins due to sympathetic voting. For mine, he is not a suitable role model for many reasons, fullstop! (yes I know, innocent till proven guilty and all that)

  2. jane callinan says:

    If Tony wins having only been on the box for half the year, that makes him the best presenter in 2008. If someone played a great first half and got knocked out just before half time, couldnt he still be man of the match. Being ‘sent off’ might rule him out, but not unheard of.

    If on air and off air could actually be seperated, Tony is a great presenter. He does role model great presenting and it could/should be acknowledged.

    As for sympathy I don’t see him getting much, so a vote in a competition he probably should win anyway will fall way short of the judgements he has endured to date.

  3. Agatha says:

    Why would anyone have sympathy for Tony Veitch?
    I saw pictures tonight on television of an old man who was the victim of a home invasion. Is there an outpouring of sympathy for the people/person who did this.
    By all accounts [deleted] and yet he is been welcomed back into the fray.
    This is pure predudice. Had Judy Bailey [deleted] she would not be getting any sympathy ( she would be in jail ), nor will the criminal who bashed that old man.
    Tony Veitch is no different. This is cronyism and sexism short and simple. I wonder how many men feel sympathy for him because they have secretly done to their partners what that criminal did to the old man in a home invasion. Of course we never see victims of serious domestic abuse on television as all channels have a policy of not reporting it unless its a celebrity case. Its other men, not women, who men protect.

    [EM: Agatha's comments have been edited so that this post does not breach the sub judice rule around Tony Veitch's court case. Any reference to the allegations against him, or comments about his potential innocence or guilt fall into that category. Sorry Agatha, I hope you understand.]

  4. [...] I did say last week that it would all end in tears. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Tony Veitch on the comeback trailTony Veitch [...]

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