British football pundit accused of 'casual racism' after making joke about Chinese names

A fuss over trivia. He wasn't insulting anyone.
"Commenting on a bungled move for the ball by Chelsea player Fernando Torres, he said: ‘It’s come off his chest, his knee, and his toe. It’s almost like that Chinese player Knee Shin Toe’.

Hoddle - who enjoyed a glittering career playing for Tottenham, Monaco and England - was sacked as the national team manager in 1999 when he claimed in an interview that disabled people were paying for their sins in a previous life.


Names in Chinese often sound amusing in English. There was a big Chinese grocer in Sydney's Chinatown years ago called "Say Tin Fong". I must confess that my friends and I usually DID say "Tin Fong" as we walked past -- rather loudly sometimes. And there was a Chinese grocer over the road from my High School called "Wing On". I am sorry to say that he was sometimes told to "wing off" by some of my fellow students.

Even my mother used to tell me jokes about pseudo-Chinese names. One was: "Have you heard about the latest novel set in China -- called "Spot on the Wall" by Hoo Flung Dung?". And my mother was good friends with our local Chinese grocer so there was no animus in it.

Such jokes are just a harmless tradition in my view. But we live in more sensitive times now.

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