The Slippery Slope of Banter

This morning, I woke up to the news of former Cardiff City and hopeful Crystal Palace managerial candidate Malky Mackay found to be a racist. Heads were going to roll as it was reported by the Daily Mail that Mackay and Cardiff City chairman Iain Moody were “being investigated over allegations that racist, sexist and homophobic text messages were prevalent at Cardiff during their time in charge.”

It was really bad. What happened afterwards, however, was worse.

Tweets started trickling in, some as far back as 100 days ago, that Malky Mackay’s controversial ouster from Cardiff City wasn’t just Vincent Tan being Vincent Tan. Something else must have happened.

Mackay first decided to sue Cardiff City for firing him, claiming Tan had insulted him and demanding £7.5 million from the club. He later dropped the suit without reason.

The events of today might have been the reason.

In a story that will no doubt get crazier, those actions by Mackay and Cardiff City will take a backseat to what the League Managers Association decided to do.

The LMA decided to release a statement regarding Mackay’s racist texts, and that statement, in what has again been a surreal, absurd exercise so far, might have taken the cake:

In the course of a search by the Club in early 2014 of 10,000 private text messages sent to and from another member of staff during Mr Mackay’s employment at Cardiff, in relation to other matters, it emerged that Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures.   These were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter. That said, Malky believes he could and should have conducted himself better on these two isolated occasions.

A professional presumably wrote those words. A professional excused the racist, sexist and homophobic comments of a manager, someone who comes into contact and manages people he was being racist against, as “friendly text message banter”.

Get. The. Fuck. Out.

The funny thing is that this is barely surprising. The LMA doesn’t really care about being politically correct or doing the right thing; it’s main purpose is to make sure that the status quo the old boys network remains. The LMA doesn’t care that Malky Mackay was being racist; they just care that Malky Mackay isn’t punished too severely.

The problem for the LMA is that what Mackay did is wrong on every level. In sticking its neck out for Mackay, the LMA might have just killed itself. Excusing vile behavior as “friendly text message banter”, effectively laughing it off, leaves the LMA as the only thing being laughed at.

Football is the world’s game. Millions of people around the world – people from every race, sexual orientation and culture – play this sport. Having an organization associated with football excusing comments made when someone “was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter” is a joke.

A joke the LMA should pay dearly for.

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