This blog initially set out to focus primarily on Islam and the Islamisation of the UK. However, since that time the subjects covered have broadened. They now include (amongst other things): IQ tests, Jean Baudrillard, global warming, sociobiology, Marxism, Trotskyism, David Cameron, Foucault, Nazism, Ralph Miliband, economics, statistics and so on. - Paul Austin Murphy
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Monday, 13 February 2012

Alex Ferguson is not a warrior for anti-racism

This weekend the Observer indulged in some poetic hyperbole when it compared the behaviour of Kenny Dalglish (the Liverpool manager) with that of Sir Alex Ferguson (the Manchester United manager). The latter came out of it smelling of roses, whereas Kenny Dalglish was almost painted as being more of a pariah than Luis Suarez.
The Observer said that ‘Dalglish appeared blinkered, determined only to defend his player’. Ferguson, on the other hand, ‘cut a statesmanlike figure, understanding that here there is something at stake that extends far beyond football’ (i.e., racism in football)... Come on! These differences in style and behaviour, between Dalglish and Ferguson, can be boiled down to almost a single thing. Dalglish was defending someone who has been seen as a racist. That is, he was defending a (potential) culprit. Ferguson, on the other hand, was defending a (perceived) victim. These very facts mean that the two managers would behave in different ways in circumstances like this. If Ferguson had been under attack, or if that were true of one of his players, he would have behaved very differently.

We don’t need to invent a parallel scenario to explain this. Many of Ferguson’s players, in Man Utd, have, over the years, been the culprits, not the victims, in various crimes and misdemeanours. Eric Cantona
indulged in a kung fu kick against an opposition supporter. And guess what. Ferguson defended him. My guess would be that Ferguson would have acted like Dalglish. Indeed, he has, in various cases, acted like Dalglish when the (football) boot was on the other foot - i.e., when Ferguson’s own players have been put in the dock.

So I simply don’t believe that Ferguson understood ‘that there is something at stake that extends far beyond football’. It was not a case of Dalglish downplaying racism and Ferguson realising its true portentous nature. It was simply a case of Ferguson’s player being the victim and the Dalglish player being (seen as) the culprit. Ferguson is not a warrior of anti-racism and Dalglish is certainly not a defender of racism. The Observer should not project its own political positions into the minds of these football players (or of other celebrities).

In any case, didn’t Suarez deny the accusation of racism by arguing that in Uruguay the word ‘nigger’ is not seen as abusive or racist. (It simply means black in Spanish.) I admit that this defence sounds a tiny bit suspect; but that’s because I know nothing of Uruguay, its culture or its language.

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