Tonight Celtic has released a blistering statement on Sky Sports interview with Alfredo Morelos, which Michael Stewart scorned last night on BBC Scotland after “inconsistencies” were revealed between what the broadcaster put on the air and what the Ibrox front man actually said.
Let’s be clear here; Alfredo Morelos at no time accused Celtic fans of racism in that interview.
Sky Sports tried to paint a very different picture, and Celtic want to know why.
Listen, this website has been highly critical of our club at times but I like to think that when Celtic does it right that they get the full credit for it, and tonight’s statement is absolutely outstanding. It hits every mark we could have wanted it to hit. It defends the supporters.
It points out that our players and management team have suffered racist abuse.
Furthermore, it points out that the evidence for such abuse was so clear that people have been prosecuted.
It is the statement we were all waiting for the club to make.
It is searing. It makes it abundantly clear that it’s issue is with the way the interview has been presented, not with Morelos himself or the words he actually used. It fires a warning at anyone who thinks they can engage in racist behaviour at Celtic Park and get away with it. And it addresses issues we wanted addressed.
“Celtic Football Club has today asked Sky Sports to conduct an investigation into an interview broadcast yesterday, which accused Celtic supporters of racist behaviour.
Translations provided to Celtic Football Club have shown inconsistencies between the words spoken during the interview broadcast and the subtitles used by Sky Sports … Mr Morelos does not use (these words) anywhere within the extended interview which has been broadcast across Sky’s platforms,” part of the statement reads.
But it goes on.
“Celtic, a club open to all since its inception, abhors racism … Celtic will always investigate any report of racist behaviour and take appropriate action. This is a standard which all clubs should meet.”
Perhaps the most sensational, and angry, paragraph is this one; “Celtic needs no encouragement to pursue racism, particularly as players and management at the club have suffered abuse persistently over the years. The seriousness of such cases has been confirmed with the prosecution and criminal convictions of some of the perpetrators.”
The club ends the statement by steadfastly standing by our supporters, which many think they should have done at the start.
“Celtic is proud of the wonderful reputation earned by its supporters over many years in many countries and at home. The club owes it to them to act in a responsible, dignified and professional manner and to treat racism with the seriousness it deserves.”
Our club is not prone to releasing rash, aggressive nonsense.
You wait for the lunatic rantings which are certain to flow out of Ibrox at some point in the next few days targeting the BBC and Michael Stewart for an example of what I’m talking about.
But on a day when Stewart is being slammed by some in his own profession for daring to voice views that needed to be heard and which, themselves, are long overdue, Celtic has actually been forced to demand an explanation from a media outlet which has blatantly, and falsely, smeared our fans.
And someone, somewhere, either provided Sky Sports with a heavily edited and grossly distorted transcript or they deliberately distorted it themselves.
As far as I’m concerned, it makes Stewart’s comments all the more valid and the questions he asked – or attempted to ask – all the more important.
That’s a bigger issue … for the moment, congratulations to Celtic for this tonight.