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Author Topic: Banning The Sun from Goodison  (Read 12998 times)

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April 15, 2017, 02:33:39 AM
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They were the ones who published Barkley CCTV, they've given a platform to the turgid mind of McKenzie to make the comments. They've earned plenty of money off the Barkley incident, there's been no concern for Barkley in their coverage and McKenzie's comments make it very difficult not to react in some way. But in truth, there's not a lot the club can effect in this situation.

I think these bans are often a bit counter productive in that they tend to give publicity and banning sports reporters doesn't effect the opinion piece section of McKenzie, Morgan, Hopkins etc. You won't stop them covering you, you're just guaranteeing the sports reporters do so in a negative light from a distance.

But given that these comments tread dangerously close to areas where people are looking to set new guidelines in media. Sounds like he's been suspended, but still think this could end them up in plenty of trouble.

April 15, 2017, 08:20:03 PM
Reply #1


The best thing to do in this scenario, is to consider the situation without the RS influences. The ban is not for them or on their behalf or because of any pressure they've applied. The defence is for Barkley, the fans and the club, that just happens to align with the RS on this occasion. If this was the Daily Mail, I would expect a very different response from RS fans, but the same action from us. In life you will have to dance with the devil, it doesn't mean you have to change all your steps.

The Sun made this into a huge story, then called Barkley thick and the missing link, called everyone from the city a drug dealer etc. The article is often the sort of thing that happens when players want to leave a club, as it devalues them. I don't think Barkley or his agent had any intention of this happening or getting out there, but it will have devalued him and/or make him more likely to want to leave or at least make this an awkward time for him.

I'd be fairly sure McKenzie wasn't aware about heritage,  and it's not hard to imagine him taking offence at the idea that someone needs to edit or check his work.

But we have a duty of care to Barkley, as an asset as well as a person and the description of him deserves a robust rebuke. I'd understand why he'd reconsider his position if we didn't given circumstances. He's been the victim of a scandalised sucker punch, then used as a denigrated weapon by a bitter, twisted cunt of a man.

If this was some small online publication, I could understand why you don't give it exposure. But the Sun are capable of setting the news agenda as they have done here, and ignoring what is already a scandal, rarely works.

April 15, 2017, 09:27:01 PM
Reply #2


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.

His heritage was an after thought, because it's an indirect attack on the City, Barkley wasn't the cut and thrust of the story. He denigrates Barkley as thick and worthless, but only to build blame to shift. He probably spent a few minutes looking at the manna of the Barkley story and then spent every waking second between then and finishing article on thinking of all the different ways to call people cunts.

In terms of the racism issue, there is the fairly obvious point that without the heritage, very few considered it racist, but once Barkley's heritage was raised it became a big issue. But white people in UK who campaign on racism matters tend not to find comparisons to primates offensive for some reason, they are more concerned about having freedom to say it. But also it's presumed you can't be racist among your own racial group, there is somewhat of an impunity for self denigration. But I do think you can make the case that while Barkley may be 1/8 Nigerian, McKenzie will have some too at some point, maybe he's got Ghanaian heritage and that's why he's having a pop.  :whistle:

With regard to Barkley's heritage, it was available in public domain, but probably a long way down the pecking order in terms of stories or info. We naturally have a higher level of knowledge of Everton players and I'm sure there were plenty of us who didn't know or had forgotten about it, until this re raised it.

It's that time of the year when McKenzie gets the most abuse, and I think people are always somewhat reflective of what they receive. I wouldn't be surprised if he was drunk, manically laughing and spitting through gritted teeth as he was writing it. There is an art or skill to contained offence, much like controlled aggression in football. If you can offend only a selected group in society, a minority will cheer you on, while majority reserve judgement, give benefit of doubt or lack interest.

When you are trying to deliberately offend a group, you try so hard to offend you sometimes forget where the boundaries lay and the context changes. People like McKenzie who have been editors, will rarely admit their mistakes in public and assume they know best on all matters, the narrative just adapts. But he quickly realised he'd dropped a bollock and is desperately scrambling for some sort of defence and to try and isolate himself from liability.

April 15, 2017, 11:46:24 PM
Reply #3


Correct me if I am wrong, but ignorance is not a defence in the eyes of the law and certainly not in any potential civil suit if he were to seek damages for defamation.

Under law we all have certain obligations where ignorance is not an excuse, but generally it's exhibit A, B and C in many legal matters. As far as I'm aware, I thought it's considered as mitigating circumstances or adds context, but as an excuse on its own it carries no water or merit. While ignorance can be no excuse for certain things, in the details it becomes an incredibly useful tool to absolve of culpability.

I think here, you're looking into what is reasonable ignorance, it's surely a wise idea to establish and punish more significantly if comments are malicious, rather than naive. But defence team then has case to demonstrate the levels of ignorance of defendant, especially on the more prominent matters. Generally anything that harms your defence is generally a good thing to forget about prejudgement.

Law takes people's situation and position into account when making judgements, a man under duress may act out of character.  But also the accused sometimes literally had no knowledge what they were doing was illegal and I'm sure there are many examples of things that are illegal, but you may not consider immoral.

Do a peaceful protest at a nuclear facility, do a comedy routine about terrorism in a sensitive area and you may be punished in a way that seems disproportionately harsh. But morality and legality don't always meet, defame a small business owner and you'll probably be refused service, defame a powerful, rich business owner and you'll find your life on hold for years while they fight you in court case after court case.

My general rule is that it's not worth picking battles with people prepared to go to war, and you need to be wise before choosing to do so. McKenzie is exactly the sort of person who fights all his court cases in the public domain, as that's where most of the judgements are at least framed. But he tiptoes in to the most offensive territory, because he is reassured about the law and what is permissible in court.

May 15, 2017, 10:10:45 PM
Reply #4