Rumours reach my ears that Celtic have asked their legal team to look into comments Adrian Durham made on the radio last week in relation to Scott Brown. I heard those comments and dismissed them at the time as being the ludicrous ranting of a pure fool.
But in hindsight, they are, of course, much more serious than that. In linking Brown to the violence which erupted in certain parts of Glasgow last weekend, Durham crossed a major line and has not relented and has not apologised.
I know John Paul Taylor has confirmed that the club is “looking into” the comments, but I heard in midweek that they were doing much more than that, and had sent TalkSport a nice legal letter informing them that the club found the remarks absolutely unacceptable.
Did it happen? Well, all I can say is that if it ain’t true then it ought to be.
Let’s be clear; there are two separate Durham controversies here. The first involves the words that actually came out of his own mouth. The second involves a call to his radio station by a Spurs fan, who’s remarks were even more ignorant. If by some freakish chance that guy reads this blog, he ought to consider that; you come across as even more ignorant than Adrian Durham.
That’s not something you’re ever going to wear as a badge of honour.
Durham got in a flap when confronted about that call on Twitter – a call which linked Brown to the violence in Glasgow, accused him of “criminally assaulting” someone on the pitch (who this involves is anybody’s guess) and even linked him to an event a decade ago which he was nothing at all to do with. It was a trifecta of stupidity, a malicious call which Celtic fans listening in were rightly furious about. Durham defended himself by saying he cut the guy off.
“I cut the caller off and clearly said on-air Scott was not responsible for that,” he tweeted frantically, “So stand the legal team down.”
And yet, his tweet doesn’t make clear what part of the call he found debatable, because his own words of just a few days before clearly do link Brown to the Glasgow incidents last weekend, and he can flap as much as he likes but it’s there in black and white and available to hear.
“At a time when Scottish football is poisoned by hate and violence off the pitch, now more than ever the game needs true leaders, inspirational leaders on the pitch,” he said. ““So how about Brown, the Celtic captain, who has the fans in the palm of his hand – they love him so much. Why not use his stature as a force of good?”
This, alone, is infantile nonsense, slamming a guy Durham has previous for having a go at. He lashed Brown in February this year for celebrating the goal against Kilmarnock, calling it “embarrassing” and then spikily adding that in the aftermath of losing to Valencia – who beat Manchester United during the Champions League campaign – that “It is Celtic all over, it is classic Celtic. What Scott Brown did … it smells of Celtic.”
Whatever the Hell that is supposed to mean.
As with February’s outburst, Durham’s suggestion here was that Brown act as a role model. But when has Brown not? He is the perfect role model, the ultimate model pro.
Durham simply doesn’t like him. He doesn’t like Celtic, which is why I usually ignore every word that comes out of his stupid mouth, as I did after the Kilmarnock rant. Whatever his issues with Brown are – and they are clearly highly personal – he wasn’t going to let a little thing like a sense of civic responsibility get in the way of speaking his “mind.”
“Instead of Scott Brown sending out fishing emoji’s on Twitter last night, instead of dancing in front of (the NewCo) fans,” he asked, “why not use your brain, rise above that kind of nonsense that excites small-minded fools and trolls to the point where they’re stabbing each other, and try instead to change hearts and minds?”
Did the guy lying in a hospital bed on the critical list not enter Durham’s tiny mind for a moment? Or the guy’s family? Perhaps this wasn’t what they needed to hear. It is almost impossible to be less concerned about the common good than this guy has shown here.
To use a stabbing victim to lacerate Brown, to hang that around his neck, is beyond shameful.
“Time to grow up,” this joker lectured our captain. “Time for you Scott Brown to be a real man and send out messages to fans promoting peace, rejecting sectarianism, rejecting violence and hate.” As if Brown has been doing the opposite all his life.
Only someone of mind-bending ignorance, only someone who lacks even the first clue about Brown and our club, could level such a ghastly charge at it and at him.
It wasn’t our players out of control on Sunday; it was Brown, himself, who was elbowed and punched.
It was Brown who was confronted by a snarling Ibrox midfielder.
It was Brown who walked away from it without retaliating once.
On the other hand, it was the Ibrox manager who failed to condemn the violent reaction of his players, by telling Andy Halliday that it was perfectly alright to start a mass brawl which could have sparked a riot. It was Gerrard who told the world that what Brown got he had coming because he provoked those responses in the first place.
There are some of us who are forced to breathe the fetid air of sectarian hatred every single day, directed at us and our families and our friends. The idea that Brown is somehow responsible for it, or that he could personally put it all to rest if he just stopped celebrating goals and victories is so out of whack with reality it blows your mind to hear it expressed.
But Durham isn’t the only one, of course. One national newspaper writer – yes, Joel Sked, you deserve to be named – tried to whip up a storm against Brown by claiming that video footage of last weekend “appears to show him making the Sign of the Cross” … which is odd considering that our captain isn’t a Roman Catholic and that the footage showed no such thing.
Durham is certainly not alone in trying to put together a hanging party.
Yet the grotesque irresponsibility at the heart of Durham’s comments requires – indeed it demands – a full response, and although some might see the consulting of our legal team and the sending of lawyers letters as an over-the-top response I believe it would be entirely measured and entirely appropriate if we had done so, because this has to stop.
At Ibrox, on 29 April 2017, Brown was attacked on the pitch at Ibrox in circumstances far less heightened than they are at the present time. It was an incident most in the media were quick to gloss over and which they’d like to forget now, but it was partly caused by the atmosphere in the run-up to that match where Brown had been the subject of similar press vitriol.
Durham is not actually as stupid as he sounds on the radio. He can’t be. So he will be aware, at least in part, that his own comments don’t defuse matters as much as they inflame them. But hey, he’s after ratings and that’s all he really cares about. This is a guy who sneers at Scotland and Scottish football every chance he gets, so the idea that he cares at all for what happens on the streets up here is laughable if we’re being generous.
In this case, he appears to have used our captain and a ghastly Glasgow stabbing to stir the soup a little and to generate controversy. It is contemptible. If our club has decided that those comments go far enough that he should be subjected to the full force of its legal department, I can only applaud that decision.
Even if all it does is give him a little jolt of the juice, and make Durham and his employers realise that there’s a line you don’t cross, the gesture itself will have been worth it. Morons like this have got to learn some sense of responsibility, even if those lessons come the hard way.
What a cheek he has to lecture Brown on “growing up” and “being a man” far less setting a good example.
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