The other day, the press was full of Neil Lennon talking about sectarianism.
I looked very carefully at what Lennon had to say, as opposed to the headlines which accompanied what Lennon said. He at no point, at no time and in no way criticised our fans in spite of suggestions and hints to the contrary and every effort from the media to twist his words.
There is nobody in this country who has suffered the scourge of sectarianism quite like Lennon, so it was pretty appalling that they tried to dump this issue in his lap.
The hacks who asked the questions were obviously playing the same game of moral equivalence that I talked about; trying to suggest that what the Irish women did was somehow on the same level as that which Lafferty got up to.
It’s shameful. And to cap it, they even threw the Celtic fans into the plague pit with the ex-Ibrox striker as well. Lennon was having none of it.
He made it quite clear that he didn’t think what the Irish women did was equal to what Lafferty did. He made it clear that Celtic fans have a right to free speech, and pointed out that we have always been anti-monarchy, so the outrage over it was entirely fake.
Lennon is the last person in the world they should have tried to pull this crap on. He saw right through it and whilst he didn’t go to town on Lafferty he made his disgust pretty clear.
He went to great pains to separate political expression from bigotry and that was entirely overlooked in the one dimensional simple minded coverage that he got.
The media is incapable of approaching this with any nuance.
Their way of looking at it is entirely wrong, because they refuse to do what Lennon did and separate free expression with which some people might disagree with stuff that is just plain wrong.
This is basic stuff, but they refuse to treat these issues as two separate things, because then they would have to take sides. But in this fight there are two sides, there is right and wrong, and if you’re not on one of those sides you are on the other.
Lennon, as ever on this subject, knows which one he’s on and we’re with him all the way, and our views perfectly align, no matter how much the hacks might want to frame this otherwise.