A 12-year-old boy arrested for racism at a football match.
Jesus God. I felt really saddened hearing that today.
It’s evidence of a dire failure somewhere along the line.
Racism is ignorance, that’s what I’ve always believed, and we were all pretty ignorant of things at that age, weren’t we?
That’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. It doesn’t make it any less depressing.
Even more depressing is that there are people gloating over it.
They feel vindicated that someone who couldn’t have got in to see Batman without his mammy a year ago has been jailed. This is their “proof” that Celtic’s support is institutionally racist, that Sky was right to put words in their player’s mouth, that Michael Stewart deserves to be sacked by the BBC.
Let’s be clear on a few things.
First is this; nobody denied that Morelos had suffered any racist abuse, even at Parkhead. Celtic certainly didn’t.
Their first statement on the matter invited people to produce evidence.
That’s all Stewart said.
The blogs have all pointed out that until today not one piece of it had been put in the public domain.
I said in my earliest article on these allegations, when some were calling for Celtic to call the Ibrox club out, that the club couldn’t because it wasn’t outside the realms of possibility that somebody in our stands had done it. 60,000 people attend Celtic Park every week … there are yahoos in that number, utter goons and morons who are not above any despicable act.
The wearing of a Celtic jersey does not make someone a saint.
Secondly, I’ve watched Celtic fans round on racists and other assorted clowns in our support before and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was our own supporters who had pointed this kid out to the police. It would not be the first time.
Those who are gleeful over this tonight won’t acknowledge that this is a possibility, nor would they give us credit if it were true.
This is especially true of that section of the Sevco support which salivates over this stuff and is forever looking for things that “prove” their own sick prejudices. They continue to claim – falsely – that there is a video which shows Morelos being racially abused.
That footage has been studied like the Zapruder film and they are the only people who hear racism in it.
Third, this arrest does not exonerate Sky or those media outlets who trumpeted the claims, not one iota.
Their attacks were generalised ones against Celtic fans in the main, not individual idiots. Sky’s interview was a blatant misrepresentation of what Morelos said, and Celtic’s statement makes it clear that we abhor racism and racist behaviour and take those things seriously. More seriously, it seems to me tonight, than those who are crowing over the arrest of a suspect who probably sucked his thumb all the way through his police interview.
Check out the forums over in SevcoLand tonight; they are filled with bile and hatred, people spewing over the stupidity of a kid, and all the while pouring their own bigotry and sectarianism out onto the page. It is astounding. The reek of hypocrisy must waft off the servers.
I have never, at any time, nor ever will, publicised the idiot behaviour of individuals in the Ibrox support.
Because every support has them. I have, on occasion, commented on the daft behaviour of individuals in our own stands, if only to insist that they should get prosecuted or banned or whatever the limits of the law are. I don’t want racists amongst our support, and it is the responsibility of our support to see that they are made to feel unwelcome.
We take that seriously. Our club takes that seriously.
When Celtic’s statements talk about our commitment to being a club open to all that’s exactly what they want us to be, and it’s exactly how we see ourselves. But that term does not extend to members of the Hitler Youth. We know what the phrase means and what it does not.
When I focus on the supporters at other clubs I write about the collective.
The Aberdeen fans who unveiled the Morelos banner, or the paedophile one, are every bit as degenerate and anti-social as those tens of thousands who have spent the better part of their “football supporting” lives up to their knees in fenian blood.
That’s not the actions of an “angry lone nut”, not that we’re making excuses for such people either.
Our anger is that the actions of one person will, again, be used as an excuse to justify attacks on Celtic fans as a whole, and that’s no more acceptable tonight than it was yesterday.
It is no more valid today than it was yesterday.
It is no more supported by evidence than it was yesterday.
It doesn’t justify the hysteria.
It doesn’t make Morelos a victim of a conspiracy.
It doesn’t allow Sky to publish a doctored interview or give an alibi to the person or people who doctored it.
And it does nothing to change what the Celtic support is; the best in the world bar none, a support who detest bigots and racists of every shade and stripe.