In a better part of the world, Kyle Lafferty would be an outcast figure, on the fringes of the game and ignored by the media having been exposed as a crude bigot of the worst sort. Let us remember before another word; he has been proven as such. He freely admits to it and so there’s no more doubt over this issue than about the shape of the earth.
This is the only country where such a man would be allowed to use multiple media platforms to claim that he’s the real victim here, and where these outlets are comprised of the sort of nodding donkeys who would go right along with it. He wouldn’t dare try this in England, where the very notion would be laughed out of the room.
I found his comments, as reported today, to be absolutely disgusting. Coaching them around a faux apology is even more abysmal. Because the apology is meaningless, rendered entirely fake, the minute you start engaging in Whatabouttery.
I have no doubt that Lafferty gets stick occasionally, there probably isn’t a footballer anywhere who doesn’t get a bit of it. Equally, I suspect that there’s a lot more of it now as a consequence of his own behaviour, but he seems to think it offers some sort of mitigation … and depressingly, some of our hacks will agree. The only thing he’s sorry for is that someone filmed this particular incident and that he has paid a modest price for having done it.
And I write “this particular incident” very deliberately. This is the guy who is a self-confessed Celtic hater. He still boasts in some interviews about how he could “never have signed” for us, at a time when we had tried to get him to. I have always been glad he didn’t, just as I’ve always been glad that odious little git Novo ended up over there too.
Whatever his merits as a footballer, arguable as they are, Lafferty is a failed human being.
That interview was the self-pitying whinging of someone who believes that as one of “the Peepul” he should have been free to say whatever he liked to whomever he liked. Part of his obvious frustration comes with finding out that even in this corner of the world there are things that his ilk can’t get away with, at least not if it’s captured on a mobile phone.
Lafferty is going to be what he’s going to be; we can all recognise his sort, especially those of us who have had to endure his sort for the better part of our lives, living in the West of Scotland. Some of us literally did get stick growing up, every single day, and especially when the first Ibrox club was still sucking in all oxygen from the rest of the game here.
The problem is that the press doesn’t cal him what he is, but allows him the latitude to make excuses for his reprehensible behaviour.
Like many of his sort, he undoubtedly grew up believing that it would be his side which always held the whip and that the uppity fenians would forever know their place. It amuses me that these sons of the empire have been bested on the pitch by teams run mostly by Irishmen and immigrants; Martin, Neil and Brendan and Ronny and Ange. Only Gordon Strachan hails from this island and as a Scot I daresay he has as much disdain for all that empire bollocks as the rest.
We know what Lafferty was really saying when he called that kid a fenian so and so on that tape; it is literally the word in which is contained generations of hatred, anti-Irish racism and anti-Catholic bile which they still march to commemorate every July, all up and down this country, where the bitterness and hatreds are formalised and normalised.
Just as they are at Guy Fawkes night, the only other occasion when bonfires spring up all over Britain, another Catholic burning ceremony but one given a faux legitimacy by virtue of “celebrating democracy.” But it’s not far from the surface there either, it’s simply hangs there largely unspoken.
For this is a religious state, a Protestant theocracy, and in July and November, and during ceremonial guff like the coronation and the death of a monarch we are not allowed to forget that, and all of that is contained in that word, all of it wrapped up tight in it like another awful word is used by white supremacists to remind African Americans that they once worked the fields and that even the constitution itself refers to “free persons … and three fifths of all other persons” just to make it explicit.
The “three fifths compromise” is a shameful section of that historic document; we can sneer at America’s racism problem but blithely ignore that they’re at least trying to come to terms with it, even as we run from the knowledge that gerrymandered boundaries in the North of Ireland and the delay in giving Catholics in the Six Counties the rights afforded others amounted to the same thing.
Selma shamed an entire country. Bloody Sunday was somewhat worse, but nobody even apologised for that appalling day, and the staggering toll it took, until 2010.
You see what I’m getting at?
That’s why those words echo one another … and Lafferty would never have been allowed to use the other one as freely as he and others use the word fenian.
Even if Lafferty was sorry, genuinely sorry, and not just mouthing the words he knows he’s merely expected to say, even if he felt contrition for what he had done, I don’t need to hear it from him and don’t particularly want to hear it either.
Had he taken a moment before using the word to think and consider what he said I may have been more inclined towards forgiveness, because then it’s something targeted and specific and calculated to cause maximum offence … but it wasn’t that at all, it was reflexive, it was tossed out there as if it was nothing, as if the word was the first thing that popped into his head, a perfectly natural response to having one of those uppity fenians get in your face.
And if it’s all those things – and it is – then how many times had he said it and not had it caught on camera? How many times has the thought flashed through his mind and not been vocalised or otherwise expressed? Hundreds? Thousands. Every day, for years, and I believe that on those occasions when he does get stick it’s the first thing he thinks of.
As a favourite TV character of mine says in another context, and I’m going to paraphrase slightly, it’s not the first it happened, it’s the first time he was caught.
That’s where we are with this, it’s why the media giving this guy the platform to get “his side” of the story across is so vile, because it requires all involved to play a role in something everyone knows to be an utter charade, and one that those working at the outlets which are running this bullshit should be ashamed to have had any participation in.
I sometimes think that our outlets would give a platform to the KKK if they could prove some intrinsic link with the Ibrox club.
Not that they have to, since the most common usage of the word “fenian” in a public forum comes from the song where they are up to their knees in blood … said song, of course, is an anthem to Billy Fullerton, sectarian thug from this very city, renowned black-shirt and a prominent member of the UK branch of the Klan.
Lafferty certainly knows the words of that song and that’s part of it too of course, that theme to ethnic cleansing. It’s all the same to him, all the same to the rest of the trash who sing that disgusting song. Irish, Catholic or black … we’re all just n@ggers to these people, that’s what the word fenian means when they throw it in our face, and I don’t think he’s sorry, not in the least, and in letting him hide behind some pitiful rationale for it the media gave airtime to that idea today.
Shame on them for that.
Shame on them for it, if they were capable of any.