Whether or not the microphone was live is no excuse for Ron Atkinson's remarks about Marcel Desailly's performance in the Monaca v Chelsea match. While ITV apologised for the remarks which were not meant to have been broadcast there was nothing Ron could say to justify him saying "He's what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger". Even by footballing standards this was a shocker and ITV was swift to accept Mr Atkinson's resignation.
What he called an uncharacteristic outburst has also led to him losing his column in the Guardian - "by mutual agreement". A view about a players performance can be seen as free speech but the level or racism in Atkinson's remark questions whether it is appropriate for him to be allowed to share his comments with media audiences.