GAA Football

Kenny Archer: Swift action required to Root out abusive idiots

Take a lead from Taylor Swift and laugh off abuse from idiots.

THERE’S so much advice available nowadays that one can become overwhelmed - but following one simple rule can benefit your mental and, indeed, physical health:

‘Never argue with an idiot’. (I therefore expect no disagreement with this column).

If you require any explanation, consider these wise words about the futility of debating with a fool: ‘They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience’.

A more memorable analogy suggests that ‘’It’s like playing chess against a pigeon: you can make all the clever moves you like, but your opponent will still knock over all the pieces, cr*p on the board, and then strut around with his chest puffed out as if he has actually won.”

This advice all relates to the ongoing problem of partitionist abuse within the GAA (as highlighted once more by my colleague Brendan Crossan last week).

The jibing at some players from the north, calling them ‘British so-and-sos’ or humming a certain tune at them.

As the great John Barnes has explained, the only offence he took at being called a ‘black bastard’ was the latter part. Not only was it untrue, it was insulting to his parents.

He was, and is, black, and proud of it. Sure, the racists thought they were insulting him about his skin colour, but they weren’t.

Of course, calling someone a ‘British bastard’ or ‘a Brit’ is also intended as an insult – but it doesn’t need to be taken as such either.

You could adopt what’s now known as `The Joe Root approach’, riffing on the English cricketer’s recent response to the suggestion that he is homosexual, and point out that there’s nothing wrong with being British.

Admittedly that argument might be a hard sell, given the recent public pronouncements of a few British politicians, especially in relation to Ireland/ the border, and the troubled history between the neighbouring islands.

Maybe, to paraphrase another modern-day icon, Taylor Swift, you could ‘Laugh it off, laugh it off.’

Haters gonna hate but you don’t have to let them bother you.

Perhaps if they whistle the tune of ‘God Save the Queen’ at you it might be worth pointing out that you’re not from Liechenstein or Norway (unless you actually are, in which case there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that).

Or you could tell them that she seems a pleasant enough old lady, although you wouldn’t take a lift home from her husband.

Another option is to turn the intended insult back on the utterer.

What measure of an Irish man/woman actually thinks that Antrim/Armagh/Derry/Down/Fermanagh/Tyrone (delete as applicable) is NOT part of the island, indeed the nation, of Ireland? (For any pigeons reading this, or having it read to them, that’s a rhetorical question).

What sort of so-called Gael thinks there’s some sort of 26-6 split? It’s not the Fine Gaelic Athletic Association. The next time you hear such a jibe, maybe you could ask the eejit responsible why their shirt isn’t blue; or, if it is, tell them that it really suits them.

After all, the GAA has as its ‘Basic Aim’, the following:

‘The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes.’

The Camogie equivalent declares that `The core values guiding the Association are: a. inclusiveness; b. voluntarism; c. equality in accordance with relevant equality legislation and fair play; d. anti-racism and anti-sectarianism; e. openness, accountability and professionalism; f. respect and welfare towards our members.

A and F are probably the key elements there.

Of course, some ‘Whataboutery’ merchants have alluded to ‘sledging’ practices carried out by some northern players.

That’s unacceptable too, but at least it doesn’t go against the basic premise of the Association.

In any case, referees can deal with all such scumbag behaviour under rule 1.12: ‘Any conduct by deed, word, or gesture of sectarian or racist nature or which is contrary to the principles of inclusion and diversity against a player, official, spectator or anyone else, in the course of activities organised by the Association, shall be deemed to have discredited the Association.’

Until proper action is taken, partitionist mind-sets will do as much to prevent a re-united Ireland as the most ardent Ulster unionist.

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As a man of my word, I never (except rarely) write about Celtic and Rangers (or whatever some people insist I should call them now).

The sectarianism among their two sets of supporters involves more than a small minority, as evidenced at matches or on social media.

People are perfectly entitled to proclaim as British/Scottish or Irish identity as they see fit, but it’s long overdue for the abuse of ‘the others’ to stop.

It’s not 1690, or even 1916, it’s 2019.

‘Whataboutery’ is rife among soccer supporters, but especially among followers of those two clubs.

Unfortunately, they literally don’t even see their own faults.

Just two examples, for balance:

1 – A Celtic supporter applauded condemnation of sectarian chants by Rangers fans at Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke – by referring to fans of the Ibrox club as ‘Huns’;

2 - A Scottish newspaper (one guess…) carried an article with former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson in which he recalled how his kids would wonder why he got called an ‘Orange barsteward’.

The photograph with the piece showed one of those children wearing a scarf with the message ‘Stick your rosaries up your arse’.

Dear Lord, give me strength…

You can either laugh or cry at that scarf, but it shows that sectarianism is literally a selling point for some associated with those clubs.

Sure, both have made efforts to dissuade supporters from sectarianism, but both can do more – as can the Scottish Football Association and Police Scotland.

As long as a problem is tolerated rather than tackled, it will continue to be a problem.

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