In a scene described by colleagues and witnesses as both tragic and a testament to what a patriot the man is, Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson reportedly broke his neck today under the weight of a 50 kilogram commemorative steel poppy fastened to his suit lapel.
The incident is believed to have occurred minutes into a Sky Sports News broadcast, after Merson had taken to the studio wearing the bespoke flower designed to commemorate Britain’s war dead ahead of Remembrance Day this coming weekend.
According to sources at the broadcaster, Merson had been repeatedly warned against wearing the poppy – which doctors and friends had referred to as a “death wish” – but chose to do so anyway, reportedly telling those close to him that it would be an “honour getting crushed to death in tribute to the troops”.
“It was awful, just awful. Everyone had warned Paul against it. It was so dangerous, and it was clear that he was in pain, but he was adamant that it was the only way he could pay respect,” said a Sky Sports showrunner, adding that worry had spread among colleagues when Merson arrived at the studio hours beforehand with his neck at an unnatural angle and his eyes slowly filling with blood.
“We begged him to relent. We even got medics in to convince him that it was medically unsound to wear it. But nothing stopped him. He just called us ‘leftie libtards’ and ‘snowflakes’ and dragged himself to the studio.”
According to a statement released by Sky Sports News, Merson was minutes ago rushed to a nearby hospital where he has been heard loudly labelling an emergency room doctor a “traitor” for daring to remove the enormous poppy from his now almost totally crushed neck.