Martin Smith: Ban sports banter in the office? Not for me

Martin Smith gives his weekly take on the sporting world.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 4:40 pm
Both teams battle away in the Steel City derby...Pic Steve Ellis

No talk of Wednesday, United, Joe Root or Connor McGregor?

That’ll be the day.

All part of working life we would say but does chat about VAR or the test score cause division in the workplace?

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Does it ‘exclude’ certain people and groups, especially women?

Canadian businesswoman Ann Francke - yes, really - the Chief Executive of the UK’s Chartered Management Institute, told BBC radio yesterday: “Some people don’t like those sports and they don’t like to be forced to talk about them and are not being included in the conversation.”

Sheffield Hallam University graduate and BBC Sports journalist Jacquie Oatley was asked to reply: “No I think that would be a terrible idea,” she said.

“If you ban football chat and banter then all you are going to do is alienate people and all they are going to do is to talk about your ridiculous ban turning something positive and light-hearted into something completely negative.”

Fair point.

Though some people go too far it would, as Ms Oatley explained, be wrong to discourage it.

“It’s not a case of curb your banter more a case of have a laugh but if you can see somebody that is really not involved you try to include them, that is really basic human courtesy.”

Quite right.

Wouldn’t you think someone with a name like Ann Francke would be wary of trying to control people’s freedom of expression?

*Double-takes at Leyton Orient on Saturday when a pizza delivery moped pootled around the cinder track to drop off at takeaway order at half time.

Prawn sandwiches were bad enough but pizza delivery during a game?

Not quite how it looked.

The delivery was part of the League Two side's sponsorship deal with Papa John's.

Orient opened the EnergyMind Third Dugout in the stadium last year, allowing eight fans to get closer to the action - and get a bite to eat during the break.

EnergyMind is a charity dedicated to mental wellbeing in the energy industry.

The Sun headline ‘Transfer win-dough’ was almost as tasty as the pizza.

*One of the world’s biggest sports lost one of its biggest stars when basketball giant Kobe Bryant was killed along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in fog in Los Angeles.

A human tragedy above and beyond sport but the world rightly mourns the death of one of its great athletes.