Football’s impudent scamps have long caused more annoyance than actual harm to their clubs. Many live by a different moral code to the rest of us which leads to all sorts of excesses, including the occasional violent bust-up.
Can you kick a team mate on the training field and punch him in the dressing room? You bet, there are hundreds of precedents for you. You can certainly kick lumps out of an opponent, but what about doling out racial references in the middle of a game?
The use of a racist term in my office, and I’m sure your workplace, would lead to summary disciplinary procedures, but football has a way of looking at miscreants through rose tinted lenses. The hoary old defence on these occasions, be if for footballers or anyone else, is ‘He’s not a racist, some of his best friends are….’.
This doesn’t matter. The guilty party may be more rascal than racist but he needs to be treated in the same way anyone else using racist language in the workplace would be. English football has done enormous work to combat racism since the 1980s but it’s in danger of undermining these efforts by accommodating people who should know better.
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Many thanks to those who have helped get the magazine off and flying this year. Everyone who has contributed (or even read) are invited to the Cathedral House Hotel in Glasgow on Friday evening for a Christmas drink. Target time is 20:30, see you there.