The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

The Obvious

Guardian blag on football abuse

It’s almost embarrassing to have to point out remedial points like this, but:

1. Racist and homophobic abuse is in fact different, because in addition to expressing disapproval of an individual it promotes hatred of a group- the same argument which underlies all hate crimes laws. There’s certainly strong counter-arguments about whether that’s acceptable reasoning legally and morally, but it’s clear enough so far as it goes and enjoys a substantial measure of support across many societies.

2. Abuse within a football stadium and abuse outside it are obviously different things. Different situations within society have different rules based on mutual agreement either at the social, legal, or private levels, which is why nudity within and without your house are different unless you’re exceptionally good looking. Football works on several implied bargains, two interlocking examples of which are that fans agree to provide irrational passion and loyalty expressed partly through financial support, and football players agree to accept somewhat unconventional working conditions, including a strong measure of terrace abuse, along with their enormous paychecks. That’s the deal. If footballers and the custodians of the game wish to change the bargain they can certainly make their case; they may find the broad support and financial loyalty of fans is changed as well.

To link the two together it should be obvious enough that while any given footballer, let’s say Ashley Cole, has effectively accepted this bargain along with his money, he cannot do so on behalf of all the people who sort of resemble him in some way. So calling Cole a dishonest cheating cunt and waste of life at a match is more or less within the bounds of the bargain, and attacking him for his race is not. This really should be obvious, and I have to assume the only reason it’s not is that some people want to retain the option to feel morally superior to the bargains they participate in- which is its own kind of loathsome.

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January 18, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer |

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