116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stand Up, Speak Up

Did an England player racially abuse another England player during a Premiership match? According to The Voice, (via Caught Offside), the incident occurred sometime in early November, "just days after Kick It Out, football's anti-racist campaign, concluded their annual period of action during Black History Month."
The Voice story, which was also picked up by a few other British media outlets, alleges that the culprit is such a "high-profile England international" that they expect further details of the incident to be "brushed under the carpet." According to the piece, "details of the said incident are widely known amongst the country’s most in tune media houses," but no one is willing to speak up. The Voice itself would not reveal any further details of the incident, "for legal reasons."
So now we have arrived at the moment in which we here on 116th Street feel obligated to call "BS" on everyone involved. The Voice deserves credit for breaking the story, if true, but I find it hard to believe that they cannot legally reveal a name in the incident. Caught Offside used their powers of deduction to offer an educated guess as to the incident in question, why couldn't a (supposedly) legitimate news source do the same?
As for the players, officials and media members who may be attempting to cover this incident up, shame on all of you. How are we supposed to rid the game of the ugliness that seems to often pervade it without the cooperation of its gatekeepers? What a mixed message; racism is absolutely intolerable until one of England's favorite players is accused, then we pretend like it doesn't exist. Give me a break. I sincerely hope one of England's non-white internationals finally comes forward and names the culprit (again, if the incident really did occur). In order to better the game, it's time we started holding everyone accountable, including those who say nothing.


Blogger spinachdip said...

For what it's worth, UK libel laws might be the reason for the silence.

The burden of proof in libel suits in the UK falls on the defendant, not the plaintiff like in the US.

Over here, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant lied, and in the case of public figures, actual malice.

But over there, newspapers have to prove that every statement it printed was true.

Remember a few years ago, when several Premiership payers were involved in a "roasting" scandal? It was an open secret that Kieron Dyer was involved, but no newspaper identified him or anyone else initially.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

That's pretty interesting... I guess we'll see how this thing plays out, I know the UK papers love a good scandal (which would make it even more inexcusable if this thing is indeed swept under the rug).

Also, how long do you think before the FA steps in to investigate?

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Really, unless you have even a shred of proof it's incredibly irresponsible to be posting innuendo like this. This would be one massive cover-up if it were true, involving everyone on the pitch, managers, referees, the FA and perhaps others. I'm inclined to believe that it's just another bit of nasty anti-Chelsea gossip. Let's say that nothing ever comes of it - how does that help the player in question get his reputation back? There are plenty of people out there who will just go on believing the worst about him now that he's been drawn and quartered by those in the blogosphere.

I'm not diminishing the seriousness of such an accusation, but these things need to be looked at very carefully and due consideration has to be given to not slandering someone on the slimmest of evidence (or with a total absence of evidence).

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

One other thing.

Asked about the incident in question by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust, Donna Cullen, Spurs Director of Communications, stated:

"I am happy to, unequivocally, tell you that there was absolutely nothing said on the pitch of a racist nature. We certainly would not cover up any racist incident. It was a nasty, unsupported rumour which started doing the rounds in the press, who themselves now admit it was wrong information. Having spoken to at least two of the players involved I am quite clear that this is total nonsense and I should be grateful if you could pass this on to whoever is still minded to believe there is any truth in it.

Best regards, Donna"

1:56 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

My opinion is that there is a culture within the game that prefers to keep things hidden, in order to preserve a fairly rotten status quo.

I don't think I've slandered anyone by pointing out another site's attempt to guess the origin of the incident, but you did persuade me to remove the YouTube link.

My main point in writing this is not to out any player (especially players I happen to like quite a bit), but rather to say that if such information is known, it would be wrong to keep it covered up. Hopefully that message was communicated more clearly than the innuendo.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I'm in total agreement with your sentiments, z. I just want to see the matter (and the player in question) treated fairly. If he's shown to be guilty then he should be disciplined in the harshest possible way.

2:19 PM  
Blogger spinachdip said...

It's true that British papers, albeit mostly tabloids, love scandals, but they're generally of the "Who's sleeping with whose girlfriend?" variety, and nothing worth suing a paper over.

But this is something more serious, and John Terry has his England captaincy at stake here, at the very least.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

Fair point... now that Spurs management has squashed the Terry angle, it seems to me that this thing has run its course, for better or worse.

Still, I'm interested in seeing if this story/rumor has any more life.

Oh yeah, Spinach, I know I'm not the first to say this, but your blog is missed...

4:54 PM  
Blogger spinachdip said...

Appreciate it, Z.

5:25 PM  
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