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Sport England step in over disgusting abuse sent to Six Nations broadcaster Sonja McLaughlan

17:01  28 february  2021
17:01  28 february  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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The England rugby team have publicly supported BBC broadcaster Sonja McLaughlan after the pitchside interviewer received online abuse following the Wales v England match on Saturday.

McLaughlan interviewed England skipper Owen Farrell, coach Eddie Jones, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Wales head coach Wayne Pivac after the home side's 40-24 win at the Principality Stadium.

The segment with Farrell was tense as McLaughlan probed for answers following England switching off for Josh Adams' try and persistent ill-discipline throughout the match. You can read all about the interview exchange here.

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Following the pitchside report, McLaughlan revealed she had received so much abuse on social media that it left her in tears in her car.

"Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling," she wrote on Twitter.

"Just some of the feedback I’ve had. Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home. Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you’re happy."

The rugby and media world has since rallied around the experienced broadcaster - who was simply doing her job - with the England camp offering her their support on Sunday morning.

England's official account replied to her tweet, saying: "Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are ok. Abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you.

"We will see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know you have our support.

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"Rugby’s core values are teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. Whether we are fans, players, coaches, referees, volunteers or in the media we are all part of the rugby community. We should all aim to hold ourselves to these values of our great game."

Several other prominent broadcasters, journalists plus current and former players have come out to back McLaughlan following the comments she has received online, with the official Six Nations account also sending her their support.

Former England player Ugo Monye wrote: "You shouldn’t apologise for doing your job & done your job superbly well for a long time. Twitter can often be an awful beast. Safe home xxx".

BBC correspondent Jeremy Bowen said: "I thought it was a good interview. @Sonjamclaughlan asked the right questions, the ones on everyone’s minds. Sometimes sports interviewing is way too deferential. This wasn’t."

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Andy Goode said: "Brilliant interviewing from @Sonjamclaughlan to Owen Farrell. Asked tough fair questions and kept going when he wouldn’t answer! Top work Sonja!"

Broadcaster Mark Pougatch said: "Prepare thoroughly, know what you’re going to ask, anticipate what’s going to come back. Nimble and rigorous as ever @Sonjamclaughlan."

Pundit David Flatman wrote: "Some pretty ordinary people on here Sonj. You did precisely what you’re paid to do. If they don’t like it, ho hum. Your employers like it, and these trolls don’t pay your mortgage. X"

ITV presenter Andrea Byrne added: "There is absolutely no excuse for abuse like this on any social media forum. And no one should end their working day feeling like you are. People are cruel. And I guarantee they wouldn’t say it face to face. Keyboard warriors doing their worst."

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