Every Ronnie O’Sullivan Sports Personality of the Year rant after snub | Other | Sport

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan has rarely held back when giving his view on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award. Despite being widely regarded as the game’s greatest-ever player, he has never won SPOTY and finished outside of the top three on his nominations in 2020 and 2022.

Even though O’Sullivan became the oldest winner of the UK Championship at the beginning of the month, the Rocket was once again left off of this year’s list. Many fans were incensed at yet another snub, as Stuart Broad, Frankie Dettori, Mary Earps, Alfie Hewett, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Rory McIlroy were nominated instead.

O’Sullivan over the years has made his disapproval of the award well-known. In 2016, he blamed the BBC’s lack of coverage compared to other sports as one of the reasons why snooker became “a nothing-type sport”.

“You’re competing with Formula One, tennis, golf and the Olympics,” he said. “They give it like 10 seconds on BBC Sports Personality – it’s a complete insult to the sport. But it’s what they think of it and what they believe it warrants, and that says it all really.

“Snooker is becoming a nothing-type sport – it’s a bit like a garage sale, but with other sports it’s like shopping at Harrods. They’re playing so much of it, it’s cheap TV. I think snooker has lost that respect among other sports – the Olympics are such a massive thing now as are sports like golf and tennis.”

A year later, O’Sullivan confirmed that he would never attend the annual ceremony – which he lived up to in 2022 by speaking at the event via a video link while in Dubai, despite being nominated for last year’s award.

“I’m so happy I don’t get nominated because I never would want to go,” he claimed in 2017. “It’s not my type of thing – standing around at some gathering. It’s not my scene and I really hope I never get nominated.”

O’Sullivan won the World Snooker Championship in 2020 but failed to finish in the top three for SPOTY, prompting him to claim that he would never take the award. “I won’t ever get that one,” he said. “I don’t know why. I don’t think I’ll be in the hunt. I don’t think so. It’s not one I want to win. I’m not bothered about awards, trophies or accolades.”

O’Sullivan relived the biggest moments of his career during a Eurosport Seventh Heaven Show, in which he spoke at length about his frustrations having not won SPOTY. “I can’t think of any other British sportsman that’s been as successful as I have,” he said last year. “There probably is one but I can’t quite think of one.

“Breaking the major record, 21 majors, equalling Stephen Hendry’s seven world titles, I think that resonates with people. I’ve been around a long time and the British public have supported me really, really well.

“It would be nice [to win SPOTY] but obviously I understand that there are other sportspeople out there that maybe come ahead of me in the popularity stakes. It’s probably more of a popularity contest and what type of sport you play.

“If I was a golfer or a tennis player, I would probably have won it seven or eight times. 10 times! But I’m not, I’m a snooker player, so it probably doesn’t get the recognition as other sports do.”

He insisted that the Beeb would “find a reason” not to give him the award even if he had an unbeaten year in snooker. “If it was taken on your achievements for what you do in the sport, I would have probably won it a few times by now,” O’Sullivan added.

“So to not even get in the reckoning, I sometimes question what is the BBC Sports Personality? What does it stand for? If I can’t win it at least three or four times with the career I’ve had, then it probably doesn’t matter what I do.

“I could probably win every tournament, not lose a match, make 12 maximums and they would still find a reason to not give it to me.

“I kind of think what’s the point of entering a race that you can’t win? So I don’t pay too much attention to it because I can’t think of any British sportsman that has dominated their sport, been as successful at their sport as I have. I’m trying to figure out why I don’t fit in. It’s OK, it is what it is. I don’t feel any less of a player or a sportsman because of it.”

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