Why seeing the bigger picture just means a photo opportunity to PM
At the risk of being spectacularly non-PC, what was that picture-opport-unity – sorry, meeting – in Downing Street on Wednesday all about?
David Cameron urged football to ‘address problems which could, if left unchecked, threaten to undo much of the hard work that has been done’.
He was referring to issues of discrimination and he added that recent problems must not ‘drag us back to the bad old days’.
Now, football cannot be in any way complacent when it comes to matters of racism and homophobia, but the FA has been doing admirable work in these fields for a long time.
Longer than Cameron has been in power, for sure.
Now, the FA must spend two months compiling a report for Whitehall mandarins which could be better spent continuing their campaign in the field. And by the tone of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comments, the FA might have to set up a department to ‘out’ gay footballers.
“Obviously, it is pretty unlikely there aren’t any gay players… it would be an incredibly strong signal if we could have a more tolerant attitude in terms of what it would say to the rest of society,” Hunt said.
Exactly who does he mean by ‘we’? My father worked on the docks for well over 30 years and I’m not sure he met a single stevedore who came out of the closet.
I’ve been a sports journalist for 20 years.
I haven’t met a fellow writer who has declared his homosexuality (although I have met one who went from Gerry to Donna).
That is not to say there are no gay footballers, dockers or sports journalists.
It is to say that homophobia is a problem that straddles huge swathes of society. Just as racism does.
Still, fair play to Cameron and Hunt.
After all, discussing the problem with dockers and grizzled hacks would not have made for yet another celebrity-studded photocall at No.10.
Michael Owen clearly did not share the widespread discomfort about another England strip being launched to replace an outfit that had been worn just EIGHT times.
The Manchester United striker tweeted to his 1.1million followers: “New @Umbro England kit looks great …”
Owen would be contracted to, er, Umbro.
PS: The kit is white. Like the rest of them.