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Tyson Fury seems to deliberately choose to be a bad role model, John Amaechi tells ITV News

Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury needs to recognise his position as a role model - and think before he opens his mouth, retired NBA basketball player John Amaechi told ITV News.

Amaechi, who is openly gay, insisted he was a supporter of free speech - but said that did not mean "consequence-free" speech.

Speaking to ITV News sports editor Steve Scott, Amaechi said Fury had a "responsibility" as a role model.

The power that grants him millions also grants him the responsibility to think for just seven seconds before he opens his mouth.

This is not about the 'thought police' - I don't care what he thinks. But when he decides to pontificate about things outside of punching people in the head, then he's warped into other people's domain, including mine.

– John Amaechi
John Amaechi in action in 1999 Credit: PA

It comes after the controversial sportsman made a series of comments which provoked outrage, including comparing homosexuality to paedophilia and saying a woman's "best place" was "in the kitchen and on her back".

Amaechi went on to say that even if Fury truly believes what he says - rather than being deliberately provocative to stay in the headlines - he should consider keeping his views to himself.

If what you're saying is provably false - the Earth is not 6,000 years old, that's not up for debate, you're wrong. Being gay is not the same as being a paedophile, and women in any kind of contemporary sense from anyone with any conscience are not 'best in the kitchen and on their back'.

These things don't need to be spoken.

– John Amaechi

Meanwhile, Amaechi said he was glad British athlete Greg Rutherford had decided not to pull out of the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) awards.

It had been reported that the long jumper would withdraw from the event due to the comments made by Fury, who is also on the shortlist, but said he had since reconsidered.

"Good people shouldn't remove themselves from the fray," he said.

"All that does in increase the percentage of bad persons in there. And I don't want that. I want the good athletes, who are mindful of their principles and their convictions and of their responsibility for often younger people who look up to them - I want more of them in there."

The BBC should instead introduce some solid guidelines for the SPOTY contest, to avoid similar debates in future, he added.

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