Complete shit rag don't get me wrong but it isn't racism ffs
I'm often one to give the benefit of the doubt, but on this occasion I don't agree.
You can't tell me an experienced football journo doesn't know that Barkley has Nigerian heritage. The story was in several national papers when Barkley first started making the England squad. It got resurrected again before the 2016 World Cup. I find it highly unlikely that Kelvin MacKenzie, who knows Barkley well enough to write full articles about him, wasn't aware of that fairly well known piece of information.
MacKenzie comes from a generation where for many racism was second nature, and who has committed his thoughts on black people to paper several times, publicly. The man is a demonstrable racist and there's absolutely nothing to suggest he's changed his views on the matter (and plenty to suggest he hasn't).
Now, perhaps his thought process wasn't as explicit as "I'm going to compare Barkley to a gorilla because of his black grandparent".
But once MacKenzie learned that Ross came from African heritage, did that later influence - perhaps subliminally - his perception that Ross is stupid?
And was his use of the gorilla as the point of comparison influenced by the usage of that animal as an insult to denote stupidity in black people? An insult I'd wager he'd thrown out many times before it become taboo in society. Gorillas are smart. They certainly aren't my go-to animal to denote stupidity.
In fact, can you imagine anyone who isn't racist committing these words to paper "I have always judged Ross Barkley as one of our dimmest footballers. There is something about the lack of reflection in his eyes which makes me certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home. I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo".
Maybe the comparison was deliberate and malicious. Maybe it's a slightly more subtle form of racism. Either way, sorry, but personally I don't see the case for giving him the benefit of the doubt.