Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Scoring own goals.

Now that I've got the sexist humour out of the way, seriously fellas, women, eh? What do they know about sport?

Actually I'd say that many of them know quite a lot, and not just about sports that are played mostly by women and not just because Mrs Exile is standing behind me with a double barrelled Beretta. And it should be obvious even to a couple of chauvinistic middle-aged soccer players turned commentators that a woman who's a qualified professional match official probably knows a great deal about it, and if she's got any sense she'll make it her business to be particularly knowledgable about the rule which middle-aged chauvinist ex-soccer players are going to say she can't understand.

So what should be done when middle-aged chauvinist soccer players turned commentators gob off about a female match official, her looks and that incredibly tired old line about the offside rule, as Andy Gray and Richard Keys did to linesman (lineswoman?) Sian Massey at the Wolves vs Liverpool match last weekend? One option is to throw a few names and sexist jokes right back at them and another is to accept that everyone can have their opinion but to rise above, ignore it and let Massey get on with her job. Either is fine by me, but one course of action that does nobody any favours is to get all offended on her behalf, cry foul and demand that they be silenced and punished and to nod approval when they're fired. Aside from how incredibly patronising it is to take offence on behalf of another as if they lack the ability to decide for themselves if they're offended, that road leads to a worse destination that having to put up with the sexist opinions of middle-aged ex-soccer players. That destination is thought crime.

I'm not exaggerating by playing the Orwell card here - what else can we call it when someone is punished for holding an opinion? Yes, it's an opinion that many find unpleasant and disagreeable and it's probably an opinion that these days is probably not shared by the majority. But that's kind of the point: it's a minority opinion, and what do we now think of minorities and their rights and views? Yes, exactly, they must be respected. Except that this shows that the implementation of this noble (or possibly ignoble) aim has gone a bit wrong. Minority views that align with those the establishment likes are fine, especially if they run counter to majority views that are frowned upon or if they go some way to making up for rather embarrassing and illiberal majority acts in the past. So for example, it was once considered to be wrong for a homosexual to hold the opinion that their sexuality was just how they were and what they did in the bedroom was their own business (not to mention illegal for them to act on it - that still had the fucking death penalty less than 150 years ago), and to make up for it now anyone who says they don't like homosexuals risks being accused of hate speech or convicted of discrimination.

The same goes for changing sexuality for gender, skin colour etc. All we've done is swapped the oppression of some minority groups for the oppression of others and called it anti-discrimination, forgetting among all the self congratulatory circle jerking that after all that effort we still have people prevented by law from being themselves. So it is if we punish people for being middle-aged chauvinist ex-soccer players turned commentators and making about the oldest and lamest joke about women and football. We might not like their opinion and we certainly don't have to agree with it, but it does less harm to take the position of hating what they say while defending their right to say it. Punishing and criminalising people for their views doesn't make disagreeable opinions vanish in a puff of love and understanding, it's just imposing our own views on them by force.

And along the way we can lose the opportunity to let the facts speak for themselves to show just how misinformed those opinions can be, which is what's happening to poor Sian Massey right now. Despite having reportedly performed her job faultlessly during that Wolverhampton-Liverpool match she found herself withdrawn from the next game.
Meanwhile, Professional Games Match Officials confirmed that Massey had been withdrawn from the League Two game between Crewe and Bradford where she was due to act as an assistant referee.
PGMO general manager Mike Riley admitted the 25-year-old did not deserve to be subjected to further scrutiny at this time.
"PGMO and Sian believe that, with any football match, the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself," Riley said.
"Sian is an excellent professional who has unwittingly found herself in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with her competence as a match official.
And the one after and the one after that.
Referees' chiefs have again withdrawn Sian Massey from the spotlight following the Sky sexism row.
Massey was due to referee Corby's Blue Square Bet North game against Eastwood on Saturday after also being due to run the line on Tuesday at Crewe's League Two game against Bradford City.
She was withdrawn hours before kick-off then and was not awarded an FA Cup fourth-round tie this weekend.
She will also not be involved in any of next week's Premier League matches.
The Premier League, who speak for the PGMO, refused to comment on whether there would be any financial loss for the official.
A PGMO spokesman said: 'The focus needs to be on the football match, not the officials. It would be unfair on the clubs involved.'
But both managers appeared to have no issue with Massey taking charge of their match. Corby boss Graham Drury said this week: 'We've had Sian before and she had a fantastic game.
'She stamps her authority on the game and she interacts with players well. We've got a top referee for this game.
'I don't mind if it's a man, woman or even an elephant refereeing as long as they do it properly.'
Dennis Strudwick, general manager of the Football Conference, said the FA, who appoint officials, had given them no reason for Massey's withdrawal.
So unless it was simply an opportunistic move by someone who simply disliked Gray and/or Keys to get one or both of them into trouble and hopefully fired, which would be selfish, manipulative and pretty shitty, nobody wins. But if whoever blew the whistle on Gray and Keys' conversation and their boorish and frankly boring comments thought they helping society in general or Sian Massey in particular then it's backfired in just about every way possible. As a result of the exposure she's not getting the chance to do a job that she clearly enjoys and is apparently good at, and might be out of pocket as well.

So well done to whoever leaked it. I hope you're pleased with yourself, you complete and utter dickhead, but everyone would be better off if you'd just go fuck a mains wall socket next time.
That's just my opinion of course.
Related Posts with Thumbnails