The Daily Record has today splashed Leigh Griffiths’ daughter all over the paper with an article linking her mother to a drug case.
Entitled “Leigh Griffiths’ 3-year-old daughter keeps her gangster’s moll mum out of jail” it a typical muck-raking piece which says that Emma Cameron avoided prison, for “giving misleading evidence” because she was the child’s sole carer.
This hits all the sweet spots for a Daily Record tale; a muck-raking saga that they can drag the words “Celtic player” into.
Forget the fact Leigh Griffiths stopped dating this girl when he was still playing for Hibs, forget that he himself isn’t involved in this shady tale in any way, shape or form.
That hasn’t stopped the paper putting his name up there.
And it hasn’t stopped them from making the not-too-subtle suggestion that he’s some kind of dead-beat dad because the girl is bringing up the kid on her own.
It’s not even strictly true anyway; Griffiths is not an absent father as anyone close to this knows full well.
His kids are frequent guests at games, he pays child support for them and keeps them close to him.
His ex is also a troubled girl, which The Record was happy to share with its readers, taking them through the dustbin of her private life with a tale of suicide attempts and depression. If you wanted to be generous to her (which The Record doesn’t) you could highlight the fact she’s an impressionable young woman with a nasty domineering boyfriend … but that would spoil the central thrust of the story; which is that Griffiths abandoned her and that she’s become some kind of gang chick … dooming their child, by default, of course.
The implication in the article is shocking.
It’s probably factually correct – although I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if it wasn’t – but is that the point?
Is it a news story? Is it in the public interest?
Was she let away because she once dated a famous person?
The judge clearly didn’t think her behaviour merited a custodial sentence or she’d have got one.
But that, too, wasn’t the story for them.
When Leigh was attacked on Twitter recently, and his kids brought into it, his heartfelt appeal was not for himself; he asked that his attackers leave his family alone.
But Leigh’s worst critics have always been in the media itself, with The Record even going so far as to name his kids in the article that told how an internet troll had wished them dead. What kind of responsible publication does something like that?
Today’s article runs with a picture of the child with her mother, but they’ve pixelated the girl’s face out.
This story didn’t have to mention the child; the story, if The Record felt it had to run it at all, would have been perfectly valid without mentioning the kid or the kid’s dad … but that, of course, would not have allowed them to slip in the name of the football team dad plays for.
This paper has no respect.
Last month they ran a story about Evander Sno being “charged with attempted murder” although, as sources pointed out, that was a travesty.
He was, of course, “ex-Celtic player Evander Sno”.
The whole of the media does this; any Celtic connection is highlighted and exploded onto the front pages.
Is it because we’re news and other clubs aren’t?
I ask because yesterday, when Allan McGregor and his ex were involved in their latest ludicrous shenanigans, The Sun chose not to highlight the club he used to play for.
And nor should they, because it’s utterly irrelevant.
This stuff isn’t news; it’s entertainment.
It becomes something more when The Record is using someone’s child as a prop.