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Sterling, Silva and racism
I’ve withheld my opinion on this issue, but because it keeps rumbling on, I rather feel like I need to say something, because the most glaring issue never gets mentioned.
First off, let’s look at the context. The sole thing that the witch hunt – sorry, prosecution (I always get those two mixed up) – has is based upon is a single tweet. Tweets, of course, are notorious for giving people enough information to make decisions on complex issues.
When talking about racism, context is utterly vital. It’s really not hard, for example, to imagine a scenario where that image represents an in-joke between the two players that actually pokes fun at racists. Without knowing what these two people know, we can’t know what context there might be about it. This is one of the myriad reasons why taking offence on other people’s behalves is so stupid, and dangerous: nobody who does so actually knows the necessary information to have an informed judgement.
Yes, the image is of someone who is black, and is somewhat of a caricature: it would be really bloody strange if he had posted an image of someone who was Asian, or completely plain in this joke between two friends, wouldn’t it? Similarly, as jokes rely on the outré, it would be really weird if the image wasn’t an exaggeration of some kind.
Part of the problem is that social media has mutated into something it was never meant to be. Social media is meant to be a place where friends can socialise together, it was never meant to be a place where the whole world can view your conversations, and try to ruin your life if you say something they don’t like or understand. Combine this with irresponsible journalists who just want to write lurid stories for clicks, rather than report and discuss actual news, and you have our current situation.
Note that this isn’t me absolving Silva from being a racist. This is me pointing out that I don’t have the requisite facts to judge one way or another, and, so far as I can tell, no-one else who is so upset about this issue does either.
Jon, Bridgwater. (Can we please just destroy Twitter, and instantly make the world a better place?)
…First of all, acknowledgment: as a white heterosexual Swiss-American male, I have absolutely no experience in being subjected to racist abuse, unlike Raheem Sterling. That said, acknowledging that, I think it’s fair to share my opinion that I think part of Sterling’s defense of Bernardo Silva over his Mendy social media post was wrong.
In my opinion, Sterling’s comments were 95% eloquent and beyond reproach. I especially applaud his sentiment of being “proud to be black as well” – right on + very well said.
However, I take issue with the statement “…we’ve got to be smarter on social media”. To me, this is basically saying “you can’t get caught posting things like that”. I believe the correct thing would have been to say, “we cannot be setting an example that can be copied and misinterpreted on social media” – you don’t want an idiot racist to make a similar post (to someone who isn’t their best friend), based on Bernardo’s post. The reason Bernardo’s post might be OK + others definitely aren’t is subtle; idiots do not perceive subtlety.
At the same time, I sympathize with Sterling because it’s not easy to speak with complete accuracy and control when you are speaking off-the-cuff, rather than reading a prepared statement or (in my case now) composing something in written form. I’ve reread + reworded the above paragraphs several times; Sterling would not have had that chance. But I hope that, if he read this e-mail, Sterling would agree with the above paragraph and say that he could have been more clear on that specific part of his comments.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
…Oh well. There goes Raheem’s credibility on the topic of racism.
It was just a joke between friends. Shared online with a few million people. He didn’t mean to dehumanise black people in the same way that the media has done for the past fifty years, he was making a joke because he has a small head not because of his skin colour. Using the type of thing the media has used to dehumanise black people for the past fifty years.
Tackling overt racism is easier, tackling things like this is much harder because it’s so subtle. It’s why Muslims don’t like that they’re only ever in films as terrorists and why black people are fed up of only being portrayed as drug dealers and criminals. I can almost sympathise with Raheem if he missed the subtlety but I would hope he spent the week thinking about it before he spoke out.
The next time he gets abused on pitch side I hope he looks back and realises he’s facilitated it here.
A few conclusions about football lately.
1. United are 1990s Liverpool trying to claw back the glory days. If you would have said to a Liverpool fan in 1990 29 years later you still won’t have won another league title they would have laughed in your face, as would most people considering the dominance in the previous two decades.
2. Could United go until 2042 at least without winning the league, that is what happened to us and we still haven’t won’t it yet.
3. Speaking of 1990s Utd and 2000s. As good as they were, I remember watching some games thinking how the hell did they win that. Under the cosh, all the opponent didn’t do was score and they nicked one at the other end. I really hope that’s us this year.
What’s Ole thinking?
Why on earth would you announce in September that your strikers are not good enough? Unless it’s a brilliant ploy to anger his young strikeforce into a performance. Didn’t work for Mourinho, but maybe it’s worth another go? No way Ole.
Danny (his analysis of games is juvenile)
It must be hard to live up to a name like Longstaff. But however stiff the competition may be, a player around whom such a swollen reputation has been erected simply must raise his game. Against Leicester there was a soft underbelly in the middle of Newcastle’s midfield where an impregnable belt should provide protection; a flaccid lump where a citadel should tower. If the Geordies’ season is to come good, Longstaff, in pole position in the middle of the park, simply fill that hole or they’re going down.
Dear Sheffield Wednesday,
Earlier this year, we engaged in an ethically dubious manner in regards to enticing some of your intellectual property to relocate to our organization. We now see the error of our ways, and are deeply troubled by our actions. We would like to rectify this egregious action on our part, and feel the best course of action at this time would be to return your purloined intellectual property with immediate effect. We can discuss any compensation required to make this happen, but will need to negotiate terms for how much you require to take back what is rightfully yours.
I hope our actions will not negatively impact our future interactions. At this time, it is looking increasingly likely that we will be moving back to your neighborhood by next year (provided you stay in your current location next year). We’ve enjoyed our time there in the past, though our time there was short. We are confident that our next return will be a long term project, and look forward to many years in that location.
With deep regrets & heartfelt apologies,
A question of taste
Dear Ded Revil, if you cannot appreciate the tune that is The Harry J All Stars’ The Liquidator, then the problem is with you, boring? Never, whenever I hear it it brings a smile to my face.
Mikey, CFC (Doesn’t Everton still use the theme from Z Cars?)
After a baptism of fire in the WSL, starting their season away at local rivals (and last season’s runner up) Man City, then losing to a last minute winner at home to last season’s champions in Arsenal, United will have been pleased to get some points on the board against easier opposition! They made hard work of it, hitting the woodwork three times before Lauren James made the breakthrough, and Casey Stoney must be a bit relieved to have broken their duck.
Last season’s champions continue to blow other teams away. The extra games with Champions League participation haven’t hindered them one bit – so far this season (which started four weeks ago) they’ve played 6, won 6, scored an average of 3 goals a game and conceded
1. In total.
A bit odd to have a losing side in the Winners section but they showed their credentials in going toe-to-toe with Manchester City, only losing due to an early sneaky free-kick and nearly equalising, with a last minute header cleared off the line. After some clever acquisitions in the summer, Everton look like they’ll improve on last season’s relegation battle.
The perennial top two finishers pick up another win. Like Arsenal, they’ve won 6 from 6, including an aggregate 11-1 demolition of Lugano in the Champions League. Their game at Borehamwood against Arsenal on the 27th October already looks like a title decider!
Birmingham didn’t play this week, due to their match against Reading being rained off by a waterlogged pitch, but they rose out of the relegation spot by virtue of Liverpool’s defeat dropping them bottom on goal difference.
The other promoted team from last season (alongside Manchester United) showed that they’re not just here to make up the numbers either. A 2-0 win away at West Ham – a side who caused Arsenal a fair few problems on the opening day of this season – is nothing to be sniffed at and will cause a few to pay them more notice, after the total domination of Liverpool a fortnight was brushed over by many who just saw the 1-0 scoreline decided by a penalty and under-estimated Spurs.
Drawing 24,790 to the Olympic Stadium for a home game in terrible weather is a positive sign, and hopefully a few will stick around for games at Rush Green.
Emma Hayes’ side bounce back from their 1-1 draw at Brighton a fortnight ago with an absolute thrashing of Bristol City. The game was over less than twenty minutes in when Chelsea were 3 goals to the good, and Chelsea eased off, saving some energy after a busy summer for a squad full of international stars. Not having European distractions this season may help them in the long run, though.
Vicky Jepson’s side seem to have returned to their usual status as a struggling side, having lost their fourth game of four this season, but at least they’re consistent! It’s a far cry from the title winners of 2013 and 2014, and after the managerial shenanigans of last season (Neil Redfearn left after one game) the chances of this being a more settled, better season seem to be out the window.
City haven’t scored this season, and failed to register a shot on target against Chelsea. The opening day draw with Brighton may be one of the few highlights in what looks to be a long season – had Sophie Baggeley not saved a first half penalty the Robins would
be plum bottom, and referred to as “this year’s Yeovil”.
The south coast side had high hopes of building on a good few results, drawing with Chelsea and a win at Championship Charlton in the Continental Cup in midweek, but could barely muster a fight against Arsenal. Hope Powell has a young squad at the league’s most
southerly team so hopefully they’ll keep their heads above water long enough to progress.
There’s no need for Hillsborough/Munich chants as reported at the Manchester United game on Saturday. It’s out of place in the women’s game, as every chant I’ve heard at matches until now has been focussed on supporting their side rather than being negative about the opponents, and hopefully isn’t a sign of things to come.
Which is the more fitting striker for your Best XI of the last year? Alex Morgan, who has scored twice for her club (one a penalty) and largely irrelevant international goals in friendlies and routs? Or Vivianne Miedema, who scored 22 goals in 20 games to drag her club to their first title in seven years, became her country’s top international goal scorer (for women or men!) in the process of getting an unfancied nation to the World Cup final, at the age of 22? You go for the one photographed in next to nothing for Sports Illustrated, of course.
James Vortkamp-Tong, Brighton
A simple VAR solution?
I think there’s a very simple and comprehensible solution to one VAR vs. human issues, at least for offside, which we can borrow from cricket. Some time in 2000s after a bunch of “chucker” or throwing scandals, the governing body got some biomechanics scientists to see what angle of arm extension the human eye could reliably detect. It turns out it was something like 14 degrees, so the rules were changed to say that any action with less than 14 degrees extension was legal, because no human was going to be able to reliably detect that amount of extension.
So we could do the same for offside. The allowable margin to be on or offside should be whatever can reliably detected in a game by a linesman. Some selection issues still need to made (e.g. should we base this on top-class professional linesman, or the average human?), but we should be able to have a plausible measure for what a linesman could in reality perceive. VAR would be used to check that the call was within the margin of human error, so the technology would truly be assistive, and we wouldn’t have these counter-intuitive incidents where a player’s armpit hair makes them offside.