The Daily Mail still can't find anyone to back their campaign, and Michael Owen showers us with gold dust...
Mario Balotelli was either badly behaved or had a knee injury, depending on who you believe, and the 'Hands Off' campaign gets big backing...
Burn The Witch Hunt
Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, faces investigation over sending e-mails which 'joked' about 'female irrationality', forwarding e-mails that contained phrases such as 'banged skinny, big-titted broads', advising a male friend to keep female colleagues 'off his shaft' and receiving e-mails in which women were described as 'gash'.
Martin Samuel has issued a riposte to the Scudamore outrage in his Daily Mail column on Monday. 'It is a rum do, the modern media scandal,' Samuel begins under a headline that claims Scudamore faces a 'ridiculous witch hunt'.
'The world is a poorer place at the end of the process,' Samuel continues, 'for it alters forever what is deemed a sackable offence, or resignation matter. Puerile jokes, old-fashioned world views, the inalienable right of every human being, no matter how powerful, to occasionally be a bit of an ass.'
Yes that's right, Samuel is claiming that the telling of sexist jokes is the 'inalienable right of every human being'. It is for such jokes that many have fought for human and civil rights for centuries, presumably. Emmeline Pankhurst has been made to look very silly indeed.
Samuel then goes on to defend the use of the word 'gash' on the basis of it being used by Robbie Burns in 1793 and appears in Jackson and Hellyer's 1914 Vocabulary of Criminal Slang with Some Examples of Common Usages. Because of course there are no other words now rightly deemed unacceptable that have previously been used regularly in British parlance, principally because they have come to be used in a derogatory context.
'He [Scudamore] was engaging in bawdy talk that has been around for centuries.'
And here is the crux of the issue, because the above sentence could have equally been written in this way: 'It was just banter.' Those were the exact words used by Richard Keys when defending the words and actions of him and Andy Gray, and it is now the argument stated by Martin Samuel QC, council for the defence.
But it isn't 'banter' (or 'bawdy talk'). It's hurtful, it's demeaning and it's derogatory. There is nothing stopping you being sexist in private, but just don't expect to then be able to lead an organisation that consistently extols the message of equality.
Perhaps we are the fools for being surprised. Eighteen months ago Samuel called for Joey Barton to come out as gay, ending with the line (in reference to Barton's French twang since moving), 'Let's face it, with that new accent he's probably halfway there.' He also wrote in December that John Terry's words to Anton Ferdinand ("f***ing black c***") were 'abuse pure and simple...utterly meaningless'. The Daily Mail: Outraged by everything but ashamed by nothing.
Samuel continues: 'We confront racism, sexism and homophobia daily. We'll never rid the world, but we'll do our bit. And now we must do the same to the witch hunts.'
Mediawatch can't quite believe that it is typing such words, but the Sports Journalist of the Year is equating the necessity for a fight against witch hunts to the fight against racism. Put a fork in us, because we're done.
Writes the more evil Custis brother in The Sun: 'THE remains of the world's biggest dinosaur were dicovered on the eve of the FA Cup final. Rumours claim in its claws was the last trophy Arsenal won.'
Now that's what we call banter.
It's a long way from being the most ridiculous thing written by Martin Samuel this week but his claim that Arsene Wenger 'loses finals' simply because it suits his n***ative of the Frenchman as a 'gambler' looks a tad silly when written in the wake of Wenger's fifth FA Cup victory from just six appearances in the final.
And why is he a 'gambler' anyway? Because he 'removed Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, both potential penalty takers', of course. Never mind that Wenger later said that Ozil would not have been on his list of penalty-takers, there ain't nothing going to get in the way of Samuel and his story arc.
And so it begins. The back page of the Daily Star screams 'OX WORLD CUP FEAR' as Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is 'facing potential World Cup heartache', purely because he didn't play in the FA Cup final - four weeks before England play in the World Cup.
Quotes from Arsene Wenger NOT included in the piece: "Alex was desperate to play in the final, and pain-wise, he could have played. But I judged him short physically and I felt that in the game, I wanted to play the players who were completely fit and prepared. He is a bit short physically. They said to me he can play 20 or 30, but you cannot program it like that, and so that is why I left him out. He is on the way up, but he needs more fitness work now. He is okay for England."
He'll be okay? Never mind that, GET OUT THE PRAYER MATS.
Where would we be without Martin Keown and his 'INSIGHT' in the Daily Mail? Not giving Thomas Vermaelen credit for celebrating winning an FA Cup winner's medal with 'true dignity and class', that's where.
Woe Is British Me
Steve Bruce after losing the FA Cup final: "Sometimes you get pigeonholed as an English or British manager. I could give you five or six [British managers] who could do you a fantastic job, but the big jobs seem to go to foreign coaches."
Mediawatch has little sympathy for this Little Englander argument at the best of times but Bruce's timing is particularly suspect after recent events at a rather big club.
After all, it was Bruce who said in October: "We must encourage the young British manager and of course I am delighted that Man United went for Moyes, there is someone who has been terrific. It is a frustration for us all that all the big jobs seem to be going for the foreign coach and I have got nothing against that, but we must find a way to encourage young British coaches if we can as we are never going to produce a great manager again if we are not going to give them a chance."
It would kind of help if they took those chances, Steve. By the by, how did it go at Sunderland?
As Mediawatch has noted previously, Tim Sherwood is clearly not a substitute maths teacher. Last week he claimed that his record as Tottenham manager would have earned them fourth place over the whole season (not strictly true) and now he says that Tottenham's form improved after his very public outburst following the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in March.
Tottenham's record under Sherwood pre-Chelsea bollocking: P13 W8 D2 L3
Tottenham's record under Sherwood post-Chelsea bollocking: P9 W5 D1 L3
It's time to show your workings-out, Tim.
The Temper Trap
Said Roy Hodgson last week on Ross Barkley: "I would hope people will temper their expectations of him. I wouldn't want him to be under the pressure that every time he gets the ball he has to score a goal like the one he did against Manchester City, or dribble 40 yards past five defenders."
Writes Chris Bascombe today in the Daily Telegraph: 'The 20-year-old is routinely described as potentially the finest footballer to emerge through Merseyside's junior ranks, a freakishly talented hybrid of those who came before. At his best, he possesses the dynamism of Wayne Rooney, the burst of pace of a young Michael Owen, a left foot like Robbie Fowler, right of Steven Gerrard and close control of Steve McManaman.'
No pressure, lad.
Quote Of The Day
"I don't think I'll ever be at peace with the England decision. If I had an injury, then I could sort of understand it. I could hold my hand up and say, 'it was not meant to be'. But in my head it's baffling a little bit. I don't really understand it. I don't think I need to prove to the England manager that I should be there. I think I've done that throughout my England career. I've always worked hard" - FC Toronto striker Jermain Defoe.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'ROODEEM YOURSELF' - The Sun.
Pet Hate Worst Headline Of THe Day
'Coming second means nothing, says brave Bruce' - The Daily Mail. Does simply losing make you brave? Or do you need to be English too?
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Peter Etheridge. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.