Media Review: Conor Benn’s appearance on Piers Uncensored adds more confusion to an already murky saga
THERE is an occurrence within a societal narrative that signifies the situation has reached a point of incoherence that can’t be fixed. It’s hit the point of no return. There is no logical way to discern what is the truth and what isn’t. And the occurrence that marks that point of no return is quite simple: it’s when Piers Morgan starts to make sense.
When you’re listening to Morgan speak and find yourself thinking, “he’s got a point, there,” that’s when you know the topic he’s talking about has become FUBAR.
That’s just what happened on Monday night when Conor Benn sat down with Morgan on his Piers Uncensored show. The segment on Benn sat between Morgan discussing whether or not Harry and Meghan will attend the coronation of King Charles and a portion of the show that focused on so-called ‘sensitivity readers’ making alterations to ‘classics’ such as Cinderella and Snow White.
Benn, sitting in the studio with Morgan, was a ball of emotion. He tried his best to keep those feelings – anger, frustration, sadness – at bay, but they spilled over at times. It was a striking change from the defiance he displays on social media and conveyed just how much of a toll this situation has taken on him, regardless of whether or not he is innocent.
He started out on the offensive, labelling his failed drug tests and the subsequent fallout a “witch hunt” – a line his father, Nigel, later echoed when he was brought in to join the interview via video call.
Conor also made some interesting admissions. He said that he “didn’t think anything” of the first failed test he was notified of, insisting that he instantly assumed there had been a mistake. That is a rather surprising reaction to have, as Morgan noted, though Benn stuck to that story. He also doubled down on the notion that he did not have any trace of clomifene – the banned substance he twice tested positive for – in his system at any point. He claimed, based on what he referred to as just “science”, that he knows for a fact he never had it in his system.
Morgan also asked Benn to reflect on the impact this has all had on his life, in particular the relentless wave of abuse he’s receiving on social media. Benn, with tears in his eyes and after some coaxing from Morgan, spoke about the suicidal ideations he had experienced as a result. Whatever you think of Benn and however he is eventually proven – innocent or guilty – no person should ever find themselves feeling like that. Thankfully Benn now appears to be in a better place.
Now for the part where Morgan made most sense: throughout the interview he kept returning to the fact that Benn and his team have still not shared the 270-page document they sent to the WBC with the British Boxing Board of Control. He said it “makes no sense” and “cannot be anything but bad for your case” to withhold this evidence that supposedly proves Benn’s innocence.
Benn’s response was that he does not intend to fight in Britain, and has issues with how the Board has treated him, so sees no need to provide them with the document. Morgan, like most of us, was left confused.
What Morgan also did, which was particularly important, was make it clear that the WBC have not cleared Benn as “innocent,” as he and his team have claimed. Morgan said he will reserve his own opinion on the case until all the evidence has come to light, urging Benn to make his 270-page document available to the public. Benn could not provide an answer as to why they haven’t done that, apart from the fact that he doesn’t believe the document would be enough to convince people of his innocence. Make of that what you will.
It was an odd decision to have Benn join Morgan’s show. There are simpler and clearer ways Benn can prove his innocence, provided he has the evidence he claims to have. This TV appearance probably won’t harm his case in any major way, but it doesn’t seem like it will help it much either.
Last week, prior to Benn’s discussion with Morgan, his promoter Eddie Hearn told Don McRae of The Guardian that they intend to apply for a boxing licence in the US, though wouldn’t specify where. McRae also spoke to Robert Smith of the Board, who spoke of his hopes that major governing bodies in the US would not present Benn with a licence until he clears his name with credible evidence in front of an anti-doping agency.
The chances of that are slim, particularly given that it looks like a fight between Benn and Manny Pacquiao is in the works. Pacquiao’s adviser, Sean Gibbons, has spoken to numerous outlets about the fight, stating how he personally is giving Benn “the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to the failed drug tests. He also confirmed talks are ongoing though insisted there is still a lot of work to be done in order to get the fight made.
The news was quite depressing to read. When it comes to performance enhancing drugs in sport, there is no room for doubt or the benefit thereof. If someone tests positive once, let alone twice, they must have to prove beyond doubt their innocence before stepping foot in a boxing ring. Instead, Benn might get the opportunity to trade blows with a modern icon of the sport, seemingly for a huge sum of money.
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