How to lose sympathy

Date: 31st August 2021

“How to lose sympathy”

The latest blog from our resident writer Donald Stewart.

“Let’s be honest, there are people who don’t get the memo…

In fact, there are plenty for whom Velcro is a challenge.

Unfortunately, they are all over social media and oftentimes down the pub sitting pontificating about the latest travesty on a pitch as they parade their ignorance and think it is sheer genius.

Most are hidden from view. they find safe spaces in which they can show off and get things wrong but now they have a love of something that exposes them – social media.

Oftentimes we look on them with pity and mutter how they need help.

They do.

Remember the whole Glen Kamara thing when we were all supposed to feel sympathy for his experience at the mouth of a player who felt that it was necessary to use racism to get his point across. We were all asked to stand as one.

We did and rightly so.

It’s a little while now since then and perhaps it has been lost in the furore there has been over booing taking the knee, Black Lives Matters and other pressing topics but I remember people looking at the stance being taken by Rangers Football Club and finding a lot to admire.

Then we have this. Two men arrested over a racist bus incident.

Of course, we have had many a troll trying to get the club into trouble as they parade false videos online purporting to be of players singing songs which in the 21st Century should simply be anachronisms. After the Kamara incident there was a case that they were a club under siege. Trying to deal with a past that does have unedifying parts included in its history, they have tried.

It takes but a two minute clip to undo everything.

And it takes two minutes to make it viral.

The young men, old enough to know better but young enough to be sorted, have been arrested for an alleged hate crime. They will appear in court for their part in this shameless and shameful incident. I hope they show remorse. I also hope that we can use the incident to show how we can turn this negative into a learning curve for the rest.

And that teaching point is not to have these incidents go underground. It is to have them removed from our psyche altogether.

If you find that Kyogo Furuhashi is too much to handle, criticise the use of his feet rather than the ethnicity of his appearance. That seems a bit simplistic, but fans have access to plenty of platforms to vent and show their frustrations. They can find others with whom they agree and many more who will argue back. To target someone because of their race simply because they play for the other team is by itself dumb. To be filmed being overtly racist and have it put on social media is doubly dumb.

What we need to do, however, is recognise that as a footballing community we need to ensure such behaviour is an anachronism. It means a degree of self-policing, of challenging this behaviour when we see it. it means we cannot allow it to appear on any platforms but must deal with the young perpetrators with some degree of caution, sympathy and understanding. Giving them a victim like sense of entitlement is pointless.

Do I hope they throw the book at them? Depends upon the book.

I would get them to read it, meet those who have experienced racism first-hand in their communities to help them confront their feelings and their actions. For example, give them 200 hours community service helping Afghan refugees. We have to avoid punishing them in a way that whilst they serve their punishment, they are thinking of ways in which to get back at you and the communities that they were attacking in the first place. For me that is pointless. It used to be called rehabilitation. The fact is that football needs people on their side building the new tomorrow, not rotting away plotting the next way to embarrass itself. These two clowns have embarrassed the club they claim to support. The tough question is how we support people to change and through that change better ourselves.”

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