By Frank Warren
DESPITE THE FACT that darts and Formula One have elected to play to the politically correct gallery, I, for one, certainly have no intention of handing the ring girls their cards.
The two sports ditching a dash of glamour has definitely played well with the PC brigade and, truth be told, the scantily clad girls did not have much of a role to play in either of these activities.
Ring – or round – card girls have long been part of the fabric of the fight game since I entered the sport in the late seventies. Back in the days of the promoter Mickey Duff, Ernie Draper – who later became my long-serving whip behind the scenes on fight nights – really didn’t look the part shuffling around the ring holding up the round cards.
So yes we introduced a bit of glamour to proceedings, but the girls also have a clearly defined function and a reason for being there, while they are obviously rewarded for their work.
Round card girls are part of the boxing scene from Madison Square Garden to Manchester, Las Vegas to London.
There is certainly shortage of young ladies eager to carry the cards.
And talking to some of those we employ at my shows they certainly do not consider themselves as sex objects. They are simply there to do a job – and it is one they obviously enjoy.
To my knowledge none have ever been molested, or even approached by the punters as is said to have happened the Presidents Club, which started the current furore. The occasional wolf whistle, perhaps, but even that seems to be disappearing these days.
They are always very well protected. You can be sure that if anyone tried a bit of bum-patting they would be swiftly ejected by one of the attendant security men or women!
It was put to me in a radio interview that, in this day and age, that this role should be carried via electronic means. Really? I would imagine technology has put paid to enough previous employment over the years already.
So they would rather us draft in a couple of robots and deny two girls a wage.
It appears we are getting bogged down in hysteria and knee jerk reactions again.
We know these days that we are supposed to be careful how we say this or that, but sometimes I just think you have to say it how it is.
It is about common sense and, at the end of the day, I fully believe in equality for everyone, not just certain people.
I’ve been the guest of numerous different corporations and companies over the years and, when you go to events, you are mostly greeted by an appointed hostess in the hospitality areas.
The fashion industry is the same. They employ what you might call the beautiful people and you don’t tend to get some big bloke with a beer belly gliding down the catwalk.
It is the way it is. Take the movie business. The next James Bond isn’t going to be Timothy Spall, is it? By the same token, the next Wonder Women isn’t going to be Kathy Bates…
What is happening now is actually discriminating against women by attempting to eliminate a legitimate line of work. Why should that happen?
Take the darts, for example. I bet the people who complain about it don’t even watch it. It is not just Formula One either, if you look at the giving of any award, the Oscars for one, there is always a glamorous individual handing the prize to whoever is making the presentation.
Look at how many presenters on Sky Sports News, for instance, are particularly attractive women? Does anyone complain about that?
The bottom line is, it is ridiculous to try and take away a person’s living and I am not going to tell someone to give their job up for as long as they want to do it.
Remember, our audience at boxing now comprises of 25-30 per cent women and of course we acknowledge the world has changed. But this doesn’t have to be to the detriment of a group of people just because someone is forcing their opinions on us.
I am not about to change anything to go along with the latest whim and, if girls holding up a round card really does offend anyone, then just don’t watch it.
That is what the on-off button is for, after all.