Modern football clubs would have you believe they have a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination – whatever form it takes.
Racism, homophobia and abuse of the vulnerable have no place in a civilised society, let alone the confines of a football stadium.
On the matter of racism, Blackpool Football Club proudly tells its fans via its website: “Racism has no place at Blackpool Football Club. We’re bigger than that!!”
The website adds: “The club has a designated safeguarding officer to deal with issues relating to any aspect of the welfare of children or vulnerable adults.”
Admirable words, but they seem pretty hollow today.
After the reports of this weekend, you have to quite honestly question whether the people who run the club actually believe in such fundamental principles.
Pool chairman Karl Oyston has been rightly slammed after an unbelievable text exchange with one fan. The language and deeply offensive comments used on both sides are quite simply appalling.
Football, as any fan will know, is a game awash with opinions and banter.
But there is a line. The text transcription shown to The Gazette and other news organisations this weekend goes way beyond that.
The use of such language as “retard” and “enjoy the rest of your special needs day out” is sickening to say the least.
Ismail Kaji, who works for the charity Mencap, says the ‘disgusting’ language made him ‘sick’ – and was ‘just as bad as using racist or homophobic words’.
He is quite right.
The Gazette has contacted Mr Oyston for a comment on the matter. None has been forthcoming.
Given the comments sent to Mr Oyston, he may state provocation as a mitigating factor.
But there can be no excuse for the deeply offensive comments which came back, private conversation or not.
The FA is said to be “aware” of the matter and there have been calls for Mr Oyston to be kicked off the Football League board.
It’s a fair point and, following this disgraceful text row, you have to question now whether he is fit to not only hold such a lofty position in the wider game but actually be chairman of such an historic and proud club as Blackpool.
Given such disgusting and offensive comments, Mr Oyston’s weekly column in The Gazette has been scrapped with immediate effect.
We await his explanation on this matter with interest, but are there really any words that can in anyway defend such a deeply insulting series of comments?
Of course there are not.