It was Jane Addams who said
“The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.”
Yes, I am of course referring to the definition of Hypocrisy. Coming from the Greek hypókrisis for play acting, It is a word often used about others and rarely about ourselves. Take the treatment of players like Mido of Middlesborough or Sol Campbell of Portsmouth and our own ex Gunner Cashley Cole. Two of the players (Campbell and Cole) are suffering the hatred of their ex fans. Hardly laudable, sometimes quite disgusting but also sometimes amusing. The images portrayed by some of the chants about Cashley Cole have made me chuckle, and of course I will then be accused of homophobia.
Homophobia strictly defined is the fear of homosexuality. The Peter Tatchell’s of this world have tried to protest about Arsenal fans singing these songs, but my response is similar how I as black person dealt with racism in the early seventies, when the National Front were marching on the streets of England. You ignore it, and do not let them know that your feelings are offended. You try to convince more sensible people by being positive and integrating with them, and certainly not provoking more attention by complaining loudly or setting oneself apart in an attempt to protect this cultural manifestation.
I hasten to add that I am not condoning the act of these fans, neither am I suggesting that the offended individuals should be prevented from making their complaints, it’s just that sometimes the politically correct brigade can render their complaints somewhat “precious” and if less fuss were made, there would really be no incentive for the fans to continue their abuse. Where this blog now dovetails with the current events, relates to the anti-islamic abuse directed at Mido. To suggest that all players of middle eastern origin are either terrorists or sympathisers of terrorism is an extension of these phobic tendencies.
The treatment of Mido by Newcastle fans as highlighted in the media was quite disgraceful, and the lack of action from the FA is allegedly due to the fact that individual fans can not be identified. This excuse is also being applied to the Tottenham Hotspur case. Is this a case of the FA kicking phobic tendencies out of football, or is it a delay to hope that the controversy goes away? Why spend a lot of money and time suggesting that racism should be kicked out of football, when the most deliberate and obvious offenders remain unpunished. The football clubs responsible would have to be fined and even made to play games behind closed doors with the resulting significant loss of revenue.
At the Emirates, there is a “whistle blowers” charter, where ANY anti-social behaviour can be drawn to the attention of the club or a steward using an sms message or speaking to a club representative. The Arsenal response is a gross over reaction, and I disagree with it, because it leaves the definition of what is antisocial to the individuals concerned. It fuels my only dislike of the attitude of the club which defines the terms of reference for fan behaviour. This attitude is so petty, that it bans the use of flags attached to a thin piece of cane. A restriction that hardly encourages a good atmosphere. The anti-social alert measure followed the threat of legal action against the Club by some Arsenal fans and Tottenham fans who complained of anti-Semitic songs, yet the Tottenham fans call themselves the “Yid army” so sort that one out.
The FA also has run a campaign of Respect. Where Referees are able to make judgements without being harangued by a group of players. The referees hope that by having respect on the field of play in the Premiership, it will reduce the instances of abuse and violence that occur in the lower leagues and playing fields. The problem again with this stance by our governing body, is that the referees remain largely unaccountable and their inconsistency appears to have grown. Given that it is their inconsistency that gives rise to protests by managers and players alike, one would have thought that some conciliatory gesture would be made to reduce the sense of injustice.
But as with the approach to home grown xenophobia, it would seem that it is “Do as I say, but not as I do” from the FA. A situation which I would describe as rank hypocrisy, which is where we began this blog. Until leading figures in the FA are prepared to navel gaze and accept the unpleasant tendencies in our own backyard, what possible hope do they have of having influence in UEFA, when players from the National teams are abused. A call for action from Mido will fall upon deaf ears. For one very simple reason. The FA remains out of touch and almost irrelevant to the needs and attitudes of modern football. In short we are entitled to wonder if they contribute anything of value to these debates other than paying lip service. In short they do Fu*k all.
Fabregas the King