We have some great responses to young Jack's question about how readers first got into football. Plus, finally some intelligent thoughts on Dave Whelan's outburst...
That's the message to any Arsenal fans who don't appreciate the midfielder. Plus, plenty on everyone's current favourite football club chairman and a wee question about fandom...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well Done, Big Man
Hey F365, I bet you're a right laugh on a night out, aren't you. Do you pick up on everything your mates casually say to each other over a beer, chastising them for being 'homophobic', 'racist' or 'sexist' when they use the words 'gay', black' or 'falsies'? Do you take screenshots of private text messages your dad sends you, so you can use them later to report him to his work for being a disgusting bigot of some description?
I've said far more off-colour things in private between friends in the name of 'banter'. And I don't consider myself a racist or a sexist or a homophobe. Have your previous little minds just exploded through the sheer incomprehensibility of that dichotomy???
Just p*ss off with your righteous indignation will you. W*nkers.
Laurence, East London (Print this, I dare you)
Don't Sell Welbeck
I understand the reasons why selling him makes sense (can't accommodate van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez and Welbeck in one formation; the development of James Wilson and need to give him game time; Welbeck's need for regular game time as a 9, and his inferior finishing). But a world where the TC23 experience, Ashley Young and Valencia stay at Old Trafford, and a self-absorbed, complacent, waste of talent is made captain, whilst Welbeck leaves, is one where the sun doesn't shine as brightly as it should.
On Freedom Of Speech
Well, this morning's mailbox - coupled with some of the crap I've seen on Twitter today (that Men's 100m final one in particular) - is just so thoroughly depressing. If you can't see that ranting about 'Fkn chinks', 'Jews', and making jokes about 'Black Monopoly' is the very definition of racism then I just despair. But to actually accuse those who condemn this sh*t as just humourless killjoys is unreal.
Just to be very clear, 'Freedom of Speech' doesn't mean 'Freedom to Say What You Like Without Consequences". It means the government can't arrest you for what you say. Mackay isn't going to prison for allegedly being a racist, homophobic, sexist fool. But it also means that we have the right to question and condemn his conduct.
All you lads, with your bantz and and your lolz, just grow the f**k up. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "We're trying to have a civilization here!"
...A few points for Fat Man Scouse on Freedom of Speech and discrimination:
1. Mackay is entitled to his opinion, The media and public are also entitled to make a judgement on his character based on this.
2. You'll struggle to find many people 'who are actually fighting real discrimination' who would argue that the use of offensive language, whether in public or in private, doesn't contribute to the issue.
3. Just because you don't act on it, it doesn't mean you aren't racist.
Highlighting more issues of casual misogyny and racism in an industry with a massive lack of diversity in positions of authority is a significant issue. That's why it's different to a someone making jokes about Geordies on TV.
I'd like quickly to address all of the specific points on the Mackay situation so that we don't have separate mails in response to each of the "it wasn't racism" comments.
Let's start from the bottom: positive racism. The dictionary on my computer (easiest one at hand) defines racism as " prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race". Attributing a beneficial quality to another group of people is neither prejudice, discrimination nor antagonism, e.g., the statement "all asians are smart and study hard", while an idiotic generalisation, isn't racism.
To "be careful with [my] condemnation" I'd like to point out that the jokes mentioned are racist even if you consider them banter. Race and racism are social constructs. We are not born racist but we grow up in a society that is still growing and moving away from institutional racism. As some level of racism has been acceptable in the societies we were raised in, it has left us all a little bit racist. However, this is not to absolve us. It is our duty to condemn this action and bring our children up in a world that that labels casual racism as unacceptable so that they may be better and more accepting than us. We can only hope if we do this it will lead to a day when people do not see race at all.
To Fat Man Scouse's mail. I believe I've addressed most of your points above except the issue of 'freedom of speech'. This has been talked about at length since Donald Sterling (owner of the NBA team the LA Clippers) made racist comments in his home to a female companion. Freedom of speech is specifically from retribution from your government. If you choose to make racist comments to a colleague in any occupation and those comments are then publicly exposed, your employer or any body that governs your profession are well within their rights to discipline you as you have tarnished their name/product/business by association. Furthermore, the media and public are free to form their own opinions of you as a person and hence influence any institution considering interacting with you.
Finally, I'd like to say that I'm not commenting on the things Mackay is alleged to have said. Until the FA conducts its investigation we will only have rumours and hearsay. Furthermore, I'm not claiming to be free of racism; as I said, we're all racist to some degree. It would be nice, though, if we could just do our best not be offensive to one another.
...Here are a few points I feel I have to make about this morning's mailbox.:
Yes, these text messages (just the ones we've seen) do contain racist, homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic views. If you don't see that then you need to educate yourself, not claim F365 journalists are unintelligent.
These forms of discrimination are not the same as nationalism, regionalism, discrimination against the obese etc. To say they are not the same is not to dismiss other discrimination or accept it. However, discrimination based on and reinforcing historical subjugation or persecution of a race, sex, sexuality is on a different level than making a comment about a stereotype of someone who is relatively evenly privileged. White Germans are not a different race to white British people.
Not all people commenting on this case have made or laughed at "off colour 'banter' such as this.If football chants also use racist stereotypes then they are also unacceptable, even if they are chants supposedly supporting the player being stereotyped. Anyone claiming non-racist people do find racist humour funny, really doesn't understand and should look more deeply at their own prejudices and in particular what would make them think they were racist, and how much ingrained, sub-conscious racism might they be unaware of.
I have been lucky to live most of my life as a privileged white British straight male. Even though I considered myself to be very aware of the world and anti-discrimination, it wasn't until I started dating a black woman(now my wife) that I became aware of how much racism still exists in our society. We have had to deal with football fans running at us, shout racist obscenities and doing monkey impressions aggressively among other things. I really don't see why my children should have to grow up and still deal with this kind of thing. The only way to prevent that is to treat incidents like this seriously.
I completely agree with Danny McCreadie about how bad the statement from the LMA was.
James FFC (If you don't print this, please print other emails that deal with these points)
Now This Is Banter
You'll probably get plenty of mails about Mr Mackay over the next few days, many of them discussing whether or not he should be given a second chance to be a football manager, largely based on whether or not his text messages count as massively racist or' Top Bantz'. Such mails will, however, be missing the point. The real issue here is whether any club should be prepared to employ somebody who thinks it's possible for a grown man to choose the name 'Malky' and still be taken seriously.
'Racism Or Whatever'
Why doesn't Tim Sherwood want the Palace job? I think it's because he's realised what a hard act Pulis would be to follow. Simply keeping Palace up last year was hailed as an incredible achievement on TP's part, and whilst they've undoubtedly got a better squad this year, they're still expected to struggle. It's also worth bearing in mind that even if Ian Moody is found to be guilty of racism or whatever, he's a damn good recruiter (unlike a certain Mr Woodward) and I imagine the next Palace manager will find it harder to make quality signings without him.
Sherwood's not the brightest but I'm guessing that his advisors have pointed out that seeing as he was considered a failure with a team aiming for Europe at Spurs, if he were unable to help Crystal Palace survive a relegation fight, his reputation would take a serious beating. Some managers are like Martinez - their strengths lie in taking an already good group of players and making them even better, rather than rallying a group of less talented players to achieve above their means.
Others are like Pulis, or Allardyce - they're good at organising a team to survive against the odds, but they have their own glass ceiling - usually around mid-table - which is as high as they ever seem to get, an when the opportunity to join a club with greater aspirations comes along, they don't do so well. My guess is that Sherwood would rather leave his options open and wait for another opportunity to join the former group with another top-half club, rather than be in the position where he's 'failed' at both ends of the table.
Finally, a word on the Mackay/Moody situation. Has anyone seen the actual content of these messages, or are we blindly trusting allegations made by Mr Vincent Tan? Because if it's the latter, we (journos & F365 included) should be working on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. (MC- The Daily Mail has printed some of the texts and Mackay has admitted to sending several offensive messages)
Alex, (Even if this is all true, Tan is still a git) Leeds
This is insanely long and rambling so I understand if it isn't published, but...
Fat Man Scouse, I desperately hope you're the only one insulted by F365 calling out an odious man for allegedly misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and deeply offensive language. "Off-hand comments like these 'alleged' comments are things that happen all the time" might be the most asinine defense for hateful speech I've heard in my life. You know, a couple hundred years ago slavery was something that happened all the time. Does that make it all right? Of course not! And the fact that discrimination happens in all walks of life does not make it all right. In fact, it makes it all the more important to fight it.
Your argument that fighting THIS discrimination does a disservice to those fighting "real" discrimination (whatever that means) is illogical. There are more deadly, dangerous forms of discrimination, but this isn't an either-or situation. You can keep people from mutilating women and killing gay people AND also call people out on their hateful language.
And it IS hateful. You say the alleged comments are not racist or homophobic because they do not act on it and there was no hate or malice behind them. The fact that they spoke is action enough.
You're not a woman. You haven't had to grow up being told you're illogical and weak and pathetic. You might not be gay, and haven't had to hear people say you're awful or or disgusting or morally depraved. You might not belong to an ethnic minority (with your opinions I doubt it), and so haven't had people find you untrustworthy or dangerous.
As someone who's grown up with all of that, who once got home and tried to wash her skin so she could look like all the other kids, who grew up thinking she was worthless simply because of the way others talked to and about her, let me tell you that you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. Sit down, boy.
And I'm not F365, but I'll give you an explanation of what freedom of speech means. It means the government cannot persecute you for your opinions. It does not mean you can say whatever the hell you want wherever the hell you want. Do you really think a government official can say the queen is a f-g c-? Do you think you can walk up to your boss and call him an useless sod that should go kill himself? Freedom of speech means you can say anything you feel like saying without being jailed, it doesn't account for other people reacting to it. Football is a business, and racist, homophobic and misogynistic language is bad for business, so someone who gives football a bad image is fired. That's simple, and does not infringe on your freedom of speech.
Also, saying the Scouse are dirty or untrustworthy, using the phrase "German pigs", making fun of the obese, etc. All of that IS wrong. None of that is okay. Same goes for Alex, who cites examples of racism in media that aren't okay either. All of that IS wrong. Context does not excuse that kind of language. And the fact that all of us have laughed at offensive jokes does not make them okay, it just shows everyone can improve. And hey, non-racist people do not find racist humour funny. That's kind of the point.
And I for one would like to thank F365 for being, along with Arseblog, the only footballing communities where I feel safe as a woman, since they're the only ones I've ever seen acknowledge and address issues like sexism in football, where most others close their eyes and pretend they don't exist.
Lily (Can we please go back to talking about football now? All this makes me feel stressed) AFC