Martin Niemöller would have recognised the basic cowardice, and the utter stupidity, of Scotland’s sports journalists.
His famous poem “First They Came …” is about how people who should speak out against prejudice and hate keep their heads down as long as it isn’t happening to them, until by the time it is, there’s nobody else left standing to make common cause with.
The amazing thing about that poem is that it was written in 1946, most people know it or at least of it, and recognise its basic truth and still fail to live according to its logic.
People still let themselves be divided. They still fail to speak up for their neighbours and colleagues. They still fail to understand that what they are really doing is speaking up for themselves.
Last night, BT Sport released a statement about why they were broadcasting the Europa League ties from an empty Celtic Park. They are standing by their journalist. They are doing what a media organisation should do.
They are, in fact, doing what every other media organisation should be doing, collectively.
At the start of this season, when Ibrox told the sports journalists of Scotland that in order to attend their pressers that they would each have to pay for the privilege they should have stood as one.
Let’s go back further; when the Ibrox club’s fans were attacking Michael Stewart they should have come together and backed him up instead of relegating him to the side-lines.
Let’s go back further than that; when Ibrox banned Chris McLaughlin every single one of them should have stood shoulder to shoulder and said “No more of this.” I could go on.
There have been others down through the years like Jackson and Speirs.
The press has been weak in its dealings with Ibrox, and because it’s been weak that club treats them all like shit.
And mugs that they are, even the insult of being asked to pay a toll wasn’t enough to dissuade some of them. They duly handed over the cheques and took what they were spoon-fed.
Chris Sutton’s ban from covering matches at that ground, for no reason other than spite, should be the last straw. Sutton did not offend them or insult them, he didn’t gratuitously attack them or in any way deserve the disgraceful treatment being meted out to him.
Chris Sutton did his job.
That’s all, and if Ibrox can ban him for doing his job whilst the whole of his profession stands idly by and watches it, they can do it to anyone. And they will do it to everyone. If that hasn’t dawned on them, it should.
If there was ever a moment for all of them stepping up, collectively, to oppose this garbage then this is surely it, because all of them are a cross word away from being next on the banned list, and by the time it comes their turn nobody will be there to stand by their side.