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Contentious Welsh rugby legend and commentator, Jonathan Davies, has been accused on social media of being ‘misleading’, publishing ‘rubbish’ and ‘ranting’, after stating that controversial plans to re-develop a Cardiff cancer hospital would leave 60 per cent of a meadow available to walkers when campaigners say surveys have indicated all will be destroyed, it has emerged.
One campaigner declares about the project to re-develop Velindre Hospital: “The whole area will be bulldozed, £27 million of public money just to access this unsuitable site…” Another proclaims: “Let’s talk Jonathan, not rant.”
Mr Davies (who’s nickname is ‘Jiffy’) is President of Velindre Fundraising and demands of one of the campaigners: “Have you or anyone close to you ever been unfortunate enough to have cancer?” But the advocate for a green space in that part of the city hits back, and says: “Absolutely yes, many of those opposing the site are current patients at Velindre”.
Yet this is not the first time that the views and behaviour of Mr Davies have made headlines.
Expert warnings were repeated about the hazards involved in the misuse of fire extinguishers after shocking pictures were shown from a video of him using one to spray into the face of former international referee, Nigel Owens, as he sat in his car while another person filming the stunt laughed.
In the clip now on YouTube, Mr Owens escapes from the car running, but Mr Davies uses the fire extinguisher again as the person filming it exclaims in Welsh “OH, NO!”. Mr Owens then shouts “IDIOT!” at him pointing.
After being shown stills from the film six years ago, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued a stern warning about the misuse of fire extinguishers. A spokesperson told The Eye: “CO2 extinguishers can prove hazardous as they rapidly remove the oxygen from the atmosphere, therefore increasing the risk of asphyxiation when used in confined space”.
The escapade in the car park of an independent TV facilities house near BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) in Llandaff, Cardiff, in 2014, was condemned by others as “incredibly dangerous”, and it prompted a series of outraged comments at the time on a sports Facebook (FB) site.
One critic said: “…did he give any thought to what injuries he may have caused?…We all like a good laugh sadly this isn’t it”. Another declared that Mr Davies was a “fucking prick”, a further detractor stated that he didn’t think “people realise how dangerous CO2 extinguishers are”.
More observations about the risky ‘prank’ were also put on the FB site, including: “That’s disgus(t)ing my brother was sprayed in the face with one of them and was temporarily blinded for several days the dipstick wants to be ashamed of himself”. Another said “absolute knob footie fans don’t get away with that behaviour”. Further remarks were made, such as “If I done that at work I’d get the sack !!! Knob”, and “Irresponsible”.
But even before the row over re-developing Velindre Hospital, the commentary style of Mr Davies has also been condemned, and it appears he does not take criticism well.
Four years after the fire extinguisher stunt, the famous fashion designer David Emanuel announced on Twitter: “Surely, there HAS to be another Welsh RugbyCommentator instead of Jonathan Davies??? Irritating. TalksTooMuch. Tired. WakeUpPlease!!@BBCSport @BBCCymruWales”.
Key words were hashtagged and he included a picture of the Welsh flag. But Mr Davies replied: “More faces than a totem pole you”.
Mr Emanuel is best known for designing, with his former wife, the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, and participated in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2013.
He joined a chorus of more recent disapproval about Mr Davies who has faced a storm of criticism following statements which have included insulting an MP on social media.
Mr Davies used Twitter to post a fake picture of one detractor, a well-known Welsh rugby fan, wearing a Pontypridd RFC shirt but he was then slammed for “essentially fat shaming someone because they disagree with them”, and the observer linked the comment to @BBCSport @BBCNews 5liveSport and @BBCWalesNews, saying they should be “embarrassed”, and that it was a “Dick move”.
On social media he has recently sent a picture of himself with no clothes on to TV and radio star Carol Vorderman.
He also used Twitter in the past to brand Rhondda MP Chris Bryant a “knob” for asking about childcare during a highly-unusual debate in the commons on the ‘deal’ with the European Union (EU), and said that Mr Bryant was “not in touch with reality” with his question in the Houses of Parliament.
One of his attackers stated in a Tweet that Mr Davies was “tedious”, and that he should be removed from The BBC’s rugby league team. Another fan claimed on social media that Mr Davies “ruins” the game, and a supporter has also pleaded that he should “shut up”.
The Daily Express has reported scathingly: “When they (France) scored (a) try, Wales hero Davies erupted on the BBC’s commentary, much to the frustration of fans at home. One fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Jonathan Davies for once can you please contain yourself during a Welsh game? ‘When you’re commentating for the BBC you’re being paid to commentate not to be a fan…..
‘I know it’s very hard for you to do your job professionally but please try. #6nations2019’. Another added: ‘When oh when will the BBC retire Jonathan Davies?!?! ‘I’m sick to death of his whiney “Wales are brilliant”, everyone else are lucky commentary’. ‘So the secret to watching rugby on the BBC is to mute the sound and listen to 5Live on your DAB radio, no Jonathan Davies! #6nations2019,’ another added.”
He said too on live television before an international rugby game, that the referee was French so “anything could happen”.
Earlier the fury of Mr Davies had also been directed at journalist Marcus Stead who had criticised what he views as the Welsh establishment.
He engaged in an extraordinary spat with him, again using Twitter, in which he branded Mr Stead, an “attention seeking nobody”, a “sad pathetic waste of time” and ‘hashtagged’ the words “absolute bell end”.
A Welsh newspaper columnist and broadcaster who saw the tweets said it was a “badge of Welsh honour” to be blocked by Mr Stead, although he has never blocked Mr Davies.
Mr Davies represented Wales in rugby league as well as union and has been described as the greatest player of his generation.
But now it seems his prowess off the pitch has come under fire, after he was accused of being ‘misleading’ spouting ‘rubbish’ and having a ‘rant’ over the Velindre Hospital project…
Tomorrow – why the reforms to planning policy only applying to England shows that the Prime Minister is in trouble on devolution.
The memories of our Editor Phil Parry’s astonishing 36-year award-winning career in journalism (including some of the controversies like this that he has uncovered) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!