Yesterday, Sky “apologised” to someone – their audience? – over the “abuse” our fans were giving Kris Boyd. They can stick their apology. The audience doesn’t want it, and I will elaborate on that in a moment. In addition, Boyd made it clear that he didn’t want it; he understands that the Celtic fans loathe him and the feeling is very mutual.
I will give Boyd his due for that. He has a clear-cut understanding of that situation and he does not need Sky’s sympathy and, in fact, I think he would consider it a failure. He is an instigator and that’s a role he enjoys. Turning him into a victim … that removes what he thinks is his power. It makes him seem weak, and he doesn’t think of himself in that way.
Boyd’s over-elaborate view of himself is not in any way connected to reality. There is nothing special or revolutionary or powerful about what he’s doing. He has become a small-brained bigoted version of the old radio shock-jock; they have a short lifespan because there will always be another, who will go further, and another after that and another.
The media has given him a larger role than any modest talent he had ever justified, and they have done this for one reason and for one reason only; they hope to piggy-back on the controversy he drums up in order to profit from it. Again, that’s not a new idea and what surprises me is that so many outlets continue to make what is an obvious mistake.
See, too many in the media mistakenly believe that what most members of the audience want is to participate in the freak-show. But most viewers really don’t want to participate, either vicariously or otherwise.
They want to hear good analysis.
They want to hear intelligent people talk about the games and dissect the big moments. They don’t want some clown without a costume who is only on there in case he says something that generates headlines.
Most people can’t be bothered with such theatrics; we don’t watch sports TV to “get involved in the debate” with the pundits. There are places for that, like the radio phone-ins, and they do their own business but nobody takes them particularly seriously.
For a small number of Ibrox supporters, there is a certain joy in watching Boyd and seeing his smug contempt for the rest of the audience. For every neutral he is a pathetic irritant, the annoying part of the show, like an irrelevant idiot at a dinner-table who everyone listens to out of necessity but nobody engages with directly or wants sitting beside them.
And Celtic fans just despise the guy, and not because he’s an ex-Ibrox player but because he’s such a loathsome example of one, the kind whose default is to revert to poisonous snark.
His views are absolutely tainted by his biases and he knows everyone sees it and he doesn’t give a shit. He milks his unpopularity. He enjoys being the centre of attention and when he isn’t the centre of attention he is trying to push his way into it.
Everything he does is designed to get a reaction.
And you know what? His employers at Sky know that full well and they only use him because of that.
They know this guy is detested by the Celtic supporters. It’s the only reason they keep putting him in front of us, because there’s simply no other reason for them to do it. He is a dreadful pundit, and so there is no merit in anything he has to say. He’s there for the sheer shock value, except nothing about it is a shock.
Certainly, it was not a shock that he got stick at the weekend. He wanted it. Sky wanted him to get it. That’s why they shoved him in the faces of the Celtic fans. It’s why they do it every week now, almost without fail. There are better pundits – everyone out there.
They know exactly what they are doing … and they have to know what response it will get.
So for them to offer a mealy mouthed apology because they got exactly what they had been looking for … it’s cynical bullshit and I’m calling it out as that.
Sky uses Boyd just as Boyd uses them; they are welcome to pursue that debased relationship as they will. Neutrals will stop watching until they realise Boyd does them more harm than good; this is already evident to almost everybody else.
What they aren’t allow to do is pretend that the reaction of the Celtic fans is somehow wrong, somehow to be condemned. They are the ones who should be condemned. They continue to stir the soup. If it has dire consequences at some point they will deserve a large slice of the blame. Boyd will not care either way. Give him his due, he at least gets it.
The idea that he is a victim is ridiculous.
It is the audience being victimised here, and Sky are the architects of that. They can shove their apology. Neither they nor Boyd deserves it, but they even less so because he doesn’t even want it.