Football thug confesses to battering opponent on live TV

The hysteria over racism in football has now become so pronounced that when one pundit appeared on a live TV programme and confessed to battering a player who’d made a racially offensive remark, no one batted an eyelid.

Dion Dublin is a former professional football player. Like most sportsmen, his career on the field was relatively short, but instead of going into coaching or similar his main contact with the misnamed beautiful game is now as a pundit and commentator. He is also the inventor of a new percussive instrument called the dube (probably short for dubious). Les Paul must be turning in his grave.

It was as a pundit though that he appeared on the BBC this week ostensibly to discuss the problem of racism in soccer. A problem which he said he had encountered on one occasion and dealt with it in a manner he described as “the right way or the wrong way”. Yes, he punched the man in the face, and may have broken his nose.

It is interesting to note that the presenter did not take issue with this, and even made a joke of it. In view of the extraordinary lengths the police went to in the non-case of John Terry, one might ask if they should not arrest Dion on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. If they were to do that, no doubt his ad hoc solution to racial bigotry would quickly be relegated to the status of anecdote, and his confession of an assault on an unnamed player would be hotly denied.

What is frightening though is that with the hysteria surrounding this issue, many people believe had Dion actually assaulted another player under those circumstances, he would have been justified.

To begin with, this sort of nonsense has nothing to do with racism, whatever the races of the parties involved. It is name calling, albeit racially offensive name calling, and should be dealt with as such, in the professional game with suspensions and fines; it is not a matter for the police. In the second place, let us imagine an assault in retaliation for a jibe of this kind is sanctioned, where do we draw the line?

Unquestionably in this case, Dion - who is a big lump - assaulted a smaller player. Would he have hit someone his own size, or bigger? Probably not. What about someone who suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome? What about a 14 year old boy, should he punch a child in the face and break his nose? What about a woman? Or a pregnant woman, perhaps if he were racially abused by a pregnant woman he should punch her in the stomach to prevent her passing on her racist genes?

If the above sounds ludicrous, it is sadly not that ludicrous, because this is where this hysteria is taking us. The racist is guilty until proven guilty, and even if he isn’t, he probably deserved it. Let’s not forget segregation, the Ku Klux Klan or slavery.

[The above article was first published on October 31, 2012; the original wasn’t archived. When I saved the file to disk, the associated photograph (which isn’t important) didn’t save with it.]

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