So, I know I bang on about this a lot but I offer no apology for it as I feel that these things must be spoken about.
Neil Lennon is once again in the press, this time for his celebration at Hibs 5th goal yesterday.
Immediately Twitter went mental; seriously, have a look.
It was all the usual tripe, bigots calling him out, more death threats, people wanting him arrested etc.
(Incredible isn’t it? I put the word “death threats” into that line almost as an afterthought, and I bet most of you skipped over it as if it was. That’s where we are now with the persecution of Neil Lennon. Even the worst conduct is something we regard as routine.)
Next will be the phone calls of course, all referring to the previous games and issues at Hearts and other places in the past, forgetting of course that time he was physically assaulted at Tynecastle.
Now at this point we should admit that there are rules against managers leaving the technical area, of course there are, and Neil Lennon was sent to the stand.
But remember that Jose does it all the time; no-one wants him arrested.
But this is Scotland, and things are different with Neil Lennon.
He is a an Irish Catholic hate figure, and although he is not attached to Celtic anymore it just goes on and on.
When Neil was interviewed after the game he said he enjoyed the celebration and that he doesn’t feel he should get a ban.
What was his reason?
He did it in response to their fans singing non-stop sectarian songs at him, again.
That word bears repeating; again.
What will the SFA do about it? We’ll find out, I guess.
Lennon, not the sectarian singing. About which they will do exactly nothing.
Because some things are okay with our governing bodies and the media and some things are not. Even citing “provocation” can be accepted in certain circumstances … such as when fans invade a pitch to attack rival supporters, sparking a riot.
Neil ran on the pitch and did an aeroplane in response to sick vile taunts and threatening songs that are completely illegal.
Why do we suspect he will be punishment more harshly than a certain club was the behaviour of its fans that day?
Why does it seem likely he’ll wind up with a ban?
On top of all this, of course, we’ll have the mainstream media all referring to “how managers should behave.”
As if there was a standard.
Except for Neil McCann.
Except for Craig Brown.
Except for any Sevco boss who spends an entire 90 minutes shrieking at officials.
Human beings have the right to respond to any bullying, as that is what this is, especially when the authorities, both football and social refuse to deal with it.
Neil Lennon is hated in Scotland and for some reason the authorities have allowed him to be abused for years.
Will those fans and the club that they represent be punished?
We all know the answer to that.
Teams are supposed to demonstrate how they’ve taken steps to stop their fans engaging in such behaviour.
It was an away game; the club will have issued the tickets for it.
What are they doing to identify those involved?
This is all about that thing I’ve spoken about before, how those connected to Celtic should be “at the back of the bus”.
We should shut up and take the abuse as “we are allowed to exist after all.”
This needs to be addressed both by football and by society and I applaud Neil for not sugar-coating this after the game.
It has gone on now for years and as long as it continues our response will be the same; solidarity with our former captain and manager.
Once again, we are all Neil Lennon.
David Campbell is fed up with the treatment Lenny gets. We all are.
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