Racist texts controversy reveals vile characters, troubling society

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2014-8-25 23:08:07

The main round of Premier League games on Saturday was a bit lackadaisical, but fittingly the biggest drama of the week was off the pitch.

The issue concerns two clubs - Crystal Palace, who are in the midst of a manager search, and Cardiff, for which this was an extension of last season's owner-manager spat. The controversy started with reports last week that a Crystal Palace executive had exchanged racist and homophobic texts with the manager of his previous club Cardiff last season.

The two, recruitment chief Iain Moody and manager Malky Mackay, were at Cardiff, who are now back in the Championship after being relegated last season, and at that time were in the midst of a tussle with the club owner Vincent Tan.

The two soon left the club amid acrimonious circumstances, with Tan claiming that the two had deceived him over player finances. Moody and Mackay came off looking like the victims, especially given who they were up against.

Tan, a Malaysian-Chinese tycoon, attracted the ire of club supporters for actions like changing the club's longtime traditional color and replacing Moody with his son's unqualified 23-year-old friend. He didn't help matters by looking like he had just walked off the set of an Asian crime drama, dressing up in dark sunglasses, leather gloves and sporting a decent mustache.

The revelation of these texts showed a very nasty and callous side to Moody as well as Mackay. Now, who exactly are the villains in the Cardiff debacle?

Not that it changes the fact Tan did things that angered his own fans and released these texts eight months after Moody and Mackay had left his team.

Moody resigned as Crystal Palace's sporting director, while Mackay lost any chance of getting the club's manager job, which he had interviewed for and was favored to get.

When the news first broke, the League Managers Association released a statement claiming the texts were private banter between friends, for which they were strongly criticized and eventually made to backtrack. The texts were indeed private but they go far beyond banter, ranging from despicable to ­malicious targeting Jews, Koreans, women and homosexuals.

But as vile as their texts were, the focus shouldn't just be on Moody and Mackay.

There is a broader issue here beyond rude texts.

This isn't the first controversy involving English, or Western sports figures making offensive remarks.

The head of England's Premier League Richard Scudamore got into trouble for some sexist e-mails, while former owner of NBA club LA Clippers Donald Sterling was stripped of his ownership for racist anti-black comments.

Let's not forget that fans can sometimes get in on the act, whether it be Italian hooligans putting up racist banners or Spaniards making monkey chants at matches.

And to be honest, lots of regular people, whether in Europe or North America or Asia, say terribly offensive things when talking to their friends in personal conversations.

That doesn't make it OK by any means, of course. However the main issue should be recognizing and combating racism, sexism and homophobia in society, and not being fooled into thinking that Moody and Mackay are the worst out there.

The author is an editor with the Global Times. hiltonyip@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: Extra Time

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