MEGHAN BRENNAN - Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Honefoss goalkeeper Steve Clark has responded to disparaging comments made by Norwegian television commentator Øyvind Alsaker during Sunday night's Honefoss-Rosenborg match.
The match was aired on Norway's TV2 with Lars Bohinen serving as the play-by-play announcer and Alsaker as the color commentator.
While the teams were going through the introductions of the starting lineups, Bohinen and Alsaker were completely unaware that they were on the air.
The two exchanged comments before Bohinen alluded to Clark as the reserve goalkeeper to which Alsaker uttered that Clark was, "a [expletive] joke."
Seconds later, Alsaker then made a racially derogatory comment about one of Clark's teammates, Leo Olsen who is of African descent.
Alsaker also belittled Rosenborg's Per Ciljan Skjelbred citing the player's rural background as the reason why he was a father at the young age of 23.
It was only after the match that it was brought to Bohinen and Alsaker's attention that their comments were heard on live television.
TV2 has since issued an apology not for the comments made by the broadcasting team, but for the fact that it was a technical glitch that permitted their comments to be aired. It has been later learned that Alsaker did personally call Clark on Tuesday to apologize.
However when Clark was initially alerted to the comments that Alsaker made about him, he elected to take the high road on the matter.
"Obviously I am not happy about being called a '[expletive] joke'," Clark said to YA. "If you speak to my teammates and our coaches I am sure they will tell you about my qualities as a goalkeeper and as a man. After I was injured I lost my place, so unfortunately I can not defend myself on the field next Sunday. I am going to keep working hard and I have faith everything will run its course. "
However Clark was quick to run to the defense of his friend and teammate Olsen who Bohinen called "a negro" and Alsaker labeled as "dark," both terms culturally frowned upon in Norway as they are in the US and elsewhere around the world.
"What was said about Leo is unbelievable," concluded Clark. "I really feel sorry for my African teammates because they are great people. What is more is that the media seems to think this is a non issue."
Clark and Honefoss will hope to put all of this behind them when they travel to Stromsgodset on Sunday.