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Racism, English Football and the British Media May 17, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Sport.

Just heard that Theo Walcott’s family are considering not going to the European Championships because they are worried about racist attacks. The English media, especially the Murdoch group, has been reportin on neo-nazi hooligans in the Ukraine especially for some time. For example, this from the Sun and this from Sky Sports News. This is of course all good stuff, letting people know the reality of the far right in the Ukraine. Roy Hodgson is quoted in today’s Times commenting on the problem of racism and danger of racist violence in the Ukraine. The English FA and media have also quite rightly complained bitterly in recent years when English players have been subjected to racial abuse.

Which all makes a strange contrast with the media commentary – or lack thereof – on the fact that a manager who played in apartheid South Africa has picked a player stripped of the England captaincy and facing criminal charges for his use of racist language while dropping the alleged victim’s brother. When it came to a choice between sending out a strong anti-racism message or doing picking John Terry, Hodgson – and his masters at the FA – picked John Terry. And hardly a peep of complaint from the media themselves, although the Guardian reports Sol Campbell’s shock from CNN. While others defend the decision.

The English media and FA in the run-up to a tournament are always hard to take, but once again, they have outdone themselves. Racism is a problem foreigners have.


1. ejh - May 17, 2012

“The English media” is something of an iffy construction. Partly because they’re not necessarily “English”, but mostly because it’s not necessarily reasonable to cherrypick from that section of the media and make it representative of the sector as a whole.


Garibaldy - May 17, 2012

It is something of an iffy construction, but it’s certainly not just the Murdoch empire or the tabloids, and it’s certainly not the British media – English football doesn’t get the same treatment in the Scottish editions as far as I am aware. So English media seemed the best available option. have you a better one?

I might have missed something from the Mirror or the Independent, but the rest of the stuff I looked at reported Hodgson defending the decision, or people reacting to it, but had nothing on it written by themselves addressing the issue I am raising.


ejh - May 17, 2012

So English media seemed the best available option. have you a better one?

London-based might do. Nothig, due to the pecularities of the UK, is ever quite satisfactory. But many of these papers do serve a British audience rather than an English one as such.

I thought the Observer’s Said & Done did Hodgson the other day, but I can’t find it and may have dreamed it. But do be wary on nutpicking, and of mistaking the more hysterical sections of our media for the whole of it. (And also, getting this one in early, of mistaking the views of people who never go to a football game and think England are going to win because they always think that, for people who do go to games and have a thoroughly realistic perspective. Interesting coda to Hodgson’s press conference, where somebody observed that nobody had asked him what England’s chances of winning were.)


Jack Jameson - May 18, 2012

Think you may have a point there in nailing the issue as being mainly one of the London-based media (and Establishment?), although I dare say their opinions may largely be reflected in the Home Counties, and East Anglia media.


Garibaldy - May 19, 2012

London-bsaed seems reasonable, but also incomplete given that it seems highly unlikely that the non-metropolitan press is teeming with indignation over this. And the point is that it isn’t just the more hysterical sections of the press who are absent comment on this, but essentially all of it. That’s what made me decide to put the stuff up in the first place.

And ejh, I never thought I’d see the day when you recommended against nitpicking 😉


ejh - May 19, 2012

Nutpicking, not nitpicking, if that’s not nitpicking.


Garibaldy - May 19, 2012

My mistake. Time to get the eyes checked.


EWI - May 18, 2012

But “British” as a self-designation certainly appears to me, after many years of encountering and knowing UK citizens, to be a synonym for “English”, and Scots/Welsh who use it tend to be of the Anglophile and Unionist variety.

On a tangent, I am constantly surprised by the presence of the Union Jack as a common branding/packaging for products in the likes of the UK stores of Marks & Spencer and Argos.


2. templebartraders - May 17, 2012


I thought you might be interested in covering a debate we’re holding in Temple Bar on Monday.

Please find attached details of a debate that we are organising that will take place in Temple Bar on Monday in relation to the fiscal treaty. It might be in the interest of some of your members to attend. the panel of speakers include local TD and Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, Clare Daly TD and many others. The debate will be chaired by Irish Times Journalist Suzanne Lynch. It will run from 1-2pm sharp in the New Theatre, I really hope you can take the time out to attend this important debate. To reserve your free ticket please visit: http://tbtdebates.eventbrite.com/

Kind regards,



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