Martin Tyler is widely recognized as one of the ‘voices’ of the Premier League and top-level European football in general. He’s been working as a football commentator for over decades now and the current generation of football fans have all grown up hearing his voice.
Tyler was a default commentator for the FIFA video games from 2005 to 2020 as well, meaning those who didn’t watch too much of football – but played FIFA also recognized his voice instantly. He’s currently even working as a coach for a semi-professional English club Dartford as a side hustle.
The 77-year-old commentator has been working with Sky Sports for over three decades and actually joined BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) in 1990 before they eventually merged with Sky a year later. He’s also covered the UEFA Champions League as well as multiple FIFA World Cup editions as a commentator.
Tyler has earned a reputation among fans for his soothing commentary and goose-bump-inducing monologues at key moments during matches. He often tends to use metaphors or general references to impress the audience listening to his commentary.
With that being said, it appears that the senior commentator made a comment that many felt insulted by during Liverpool’s thrilling game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, 30 April. At one moment of the game, Spurs’ forward Son Heung-Min was booked for clearly pulling back Cody Gakpo to stop him from attacking his backline.
Son was given a yellow card for his offence and Tyler decided to describe the foul as something ‘more akin to martial arts than football’. It appears that some fans found this particular comment to be insulting, blaming Tyler for trying to stereotype Asian people because of how popular Martial Arts is in the continent.
Sky Sports were quick to condemn Tyler’s actions and accepted that he might’ve made a mistake through a comment that could’ve come off as racist. In a statement, they later said: “Martin Tyler has been reminded of the need for care with his wording. No offence was intended.”
This has infuriated quite a lot of fans, who believe that the 77-year-old commentator did not intentionally try to make an insulting remark and didn’t deserve to be reprimanded for it. Tyler also found himself in hot water last year when he was commentating on the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff match between Wales and Ukraine.
At one point in that game, Tyler indicated that Ukraine goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan needed to ‘solider on’ after sustaining a bit of an injury in that game. Some felt that comment was a bit insensitive at the time because of the ongoing war in Ukraine and how many Ukrainian citizens have been forced to join the army during the war.
Tyler is unlikely to be willingly looking to cause harm or distress to any fans with his comments, but he just likes to use these clever terms to keep the audience entertained. With that being said, the 77-year-old commentator isn’t really the most popular commentator around anymore.
Many fans believe that Tyler is well beyond his best years and just can’t bring that passion or emotion needed from commentators in key matches to make them seem like something special. There have been calls for him to retire or be replaced after the Spurs-Liverpool game, but not many fans seem to want him out for the remark he made towards Son.