We covered Matthew Syed and David James yesterday. Might be worth reading that first if you haven’t yet…
Eni Aluko: Another apology due
Mediawatch won’t apologise for labouring the point, because there is one other journalist who should certainly be apologising to Eni Aluko after the independent investigation’s conclusions on Wednesday: Daily Mail’s chief sports writer Martin Samuel.
You see, on August 17 in the Mail, Samuel wrote his assessment of the case under the headline ‘REAL SCANDAL OF ALUKO’S CASE IS THE WASTED CASH’. Yes, money is the ‘real scandal’ when alleged (and now proven) racism is at play:
‘If every coach who spoke that way about his players was dismissed for bullying, dug-outs would empty overnight. This is the blunt, industrial language that is part of all sports.’
No, it isn’t. And if it is, it should be brought to light there too and the perpetrators also sacked. Samuel was referring to Sampson swearing at Aluko rather than the comments that the panel considered racist, but why were they ignored in that column? Samuel goes on to say that the case against Sampson is ‘extraordinarily flimsy’. Why thank you, law professor.
‘Can you imagine the alarm at the FA the day the complaint from Eni Aluko dropped? Here was a black woman alleging bullying and racism by her manager, a white man and an FA employee. In an organisation that positively aches to be seen to do the right thing, this was British Cycling and Luis Aragones rolled into one: a PR PC disaster.’
You know what Mediawatch would like? A Football Association that didn’t see fit to brush alleged racism against an employee under the rug and pretend it will go away. We’d like a Football Association that did the right thing, not hid the wrong thing. ‘Positively aches to be seen to do the right thing’ sounds an awful lot like someone describing going out of your way to be non-discriminatory as a bad thing.
If that wasn’t enough, Samuel then went on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement programme the following Sunday, introduced by Neil Ashton as an ‘expert’ on the case.
Two choice quotes from that appearance:
“the case doesn’t appear to be there”
“there’s nothing on the tape”
And so to today, after the scandal has broken. And Samuel’s latest piece for the Daily Mail on the case:
‘Mostly, the MPs heard the rehashing of old tales. Much of the evidence was already in the public domain. The real revelation — and there were occasional gasps in the auditorium — was the mood, rather than the detail, the shockingly casual ineptitude of those answering the politicians on football’s behalf.’
If it was in the public domain, and therefore you knew about all the information, why did you say it formed an ‘extraordinarily flimsy’ case against Sampson?
‘How could they have been so under-prepared? How did they not take this seriously?’
And why did you call this case a waste of money? You can’t suddenly act all high and mighty about the FA not taking it seriously when you literally said “the case isn’t there” live on national television. Just like you didn’t take John Terry using the words “f***ing black c***” to Anton Ferdinand seriously enough. He called them ‘ultimately meaningless’ because it was an exchange between two people: ‘The words may be offensive but they do not go anywhere.’
‘Every piece of damning testimony that the MPs heard, was originally available to the FA months ago. The goalkeeping coach who would talk to Eni Aluko in a mock Caribbean accent, the identity of the player offended by Sampson’s banter, the attempts to alienate dissenting players from team-mates. It was all there. The FA chose not to look.’
And they weren’t the only ones. An apology is due here too. And stop calling it f*cking ‘banter’.
“The FA definitely needs radical change. It needs reforming. But I don’t want that to be mistaken for a couple of the individuals who have been part of the last few days. Martin Glenn and Dan Ashworth are good people with the right credentials.
“I’ve seen many incidents like this within the FA over the last 10 or 20 years whereby what can seem like a very small incident has grown into a big incident and caught management by surprise, but I do believe they are good people and continue in their jobs” – Gary Neville.
Some questions for Neville, if we may:
1) At what point does a ‘good person’ become a less good person? And, in the case of Martin Glenn, is that when you are offering money to a black player alleging racism if she states that the Football Association – whose employee is accused of the racism – is not racist (something Glenn denies doing)?
2) If anyone at the Football Association cannot detect that accusations of racism are something more than ‘a small incident’ without being ‘caught by surprise’, should they be working there?
3) Do you not think that the fact that you have seen ‘many incidents like this within the FA over the last 10 or 20 years’ indicates that vague promises of reform have been proven to be insufficient to effect meaningful positive change?
4) What are the ‘right credentials’ to do their jobs, and why is not attempting to cover up racism not on the list of credentials?
5) How radical can change be if the people that are proven to be – at best – incompetent still keep their jobs?
As if by magic
If you were asking yourself on Friday morning why Duncan Castles has changed tack from writing 1,001 different versions of ‘DC 4 JM IDST’ and penned a column for Yahoo Sport on Antonio Conte, the last paragraph will have given you your answer:
‘Should Conte become the latest casualty of Chelsea’s structural dysfunctionality he will be the fourth Premier League winning manager to be sacked by the Russian. Only Jose Mourinho – in his first period at the club – survived longer than a year after securing the English title.’
That’s our boy.
‘Moving forward? The club [Leicester City] took a giant step back, and returned to being just another Premier League struggler, when it sacked Claudio Ranieri’ – Andy Dunn, Daily Mirror.
Leicester were 17th in the Premier League after 25 games of a 38-game league season when Ranieri was sacked. It’s fair to say they had already returned to being a ‘Premier League struggler’ by then.
Jose Mourinho and injuries
The Guardian do our work for us, and do it beautifully:
Inadvertent libel of the day
‘Prizing Ozil away from Arsenal would be a huge coup for Mourinho, regardless of his current form.
‘United are two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and will look to continue their push for the title in the new year.
‘The addition of Ozil could provide the impotence the Red Devils will need in the second half of the season’ – Metro.
We had heard he couldn’t get up for Arsenal games anymore.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Liew on Eden Hazard.
Simon Burnton with Simon Cox on his goals.
James McNicholas on Mesut Ozil.