Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was overheard telling an aide to ban an Associated Press reporter from an upcoming press conference after the reporter asked Ferguson a question about Manchester United player Ryan Giggs, who has been named as the player at the center of a legal gag order concerning a sex scandal.
Ferguson was speaking at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Barcelona when the reporter Rob Harris said, “The most experienced Champions League player in the team is obviously Ryan Giggs. How important is he for the team on Saturday?”
“All of the players are important, every one of them,” Ferguson replied.
That’s not all he said, though.
Sky News later broadcast what Ferguson whispered to a club media officer.
He was heard saying, “the guy that asked the question about Giggsy … at the press conference”.
She replies: “Which one?”
Ferguson responds: “Him that asked the question … who?”
The press officer replied: “Oh yeah, I’ll tell you later.”
Minutes later, Ferguson is heard to ask: “Is he coming on Friday?”
The press officer asks: “The guy with the laptop?”
Ferguson replies: “Aye. Then we’ll get him. Ban him on Friday.”
Giggs, the married father of two, has been embroiled in a sex scandal involving model Imogen Thomas. Giggs turned to the antiquated English system of injunctions to keep his name from being published in conjunction with the controversy, a move that did little to keep media outside the country from publishing the story replete with his name and salacious details.
Lou Ferrara, the Associated Press’s managing editor for sport, defended his colleague, Harris.
“Rob was doing his job as a journalist by asking a question,” Ferrara said. “Our expectation is that he’ll ask more questions, and be afforded the ability to do so, as he covers the world’s most popular sport.”