Racial slurs during football matches...from fans to players and from players to players. The FAs are now hauling up those guilty or accused as guilty, like Suarez, and hammering them with huge fines and suspensions.
Don’t you think that’s taking it a bit too far? Let’s look at some other unacceptable behaviours. Take theft: to qualify as a thief, you have to first intend to steal something (in law they call this mens rea, which is Latin roughly for ‘criminal intent’ – literally it means ‘evil mind’). So a baby can’t steal something from a shop even if it grabs that lollipop and carries it through the checkout under its blanket. Likewise, there are mens rea-type tests for the commission of other offences.
Take Stephanie Rice, 3 time Olympic swimming gold medalists in 2008. If we take that test and apply it to her faggot slur on her tweeter after Aussies Wallabies defeated the Springboks, ‘f-tweet’, it’s not at all homophobic. Did she intend to offend homosexuals with that tweet? Almost certainly not. Did she intend to dismiss the Springboks as losers? Almost certainly. She’s 22. And an athlete. A champion. I’m tipping it’s no cakewalk being a Olympic-champion swimmer.
Not too much sitting around in circles singing kum-bah-ya and holding hands. Lots of toughing it out, and lots of being tough on yourself, as well as developing somewhat thick skin. Being able to dish it out, and take it. Being schooled continuously that victory for Australia is everything. The rules are clearly different for celebrities, but I wonder how many people in this country did many things they consider to be worse than use the word ‘faggot’ ill-advisedly between the ages of 18 and 24? I know I did.
“Suck on that, faggots,” (note the comma, Steph), 'you negritos', you yellow cultured etc etc' are the kinds of thing that gets shouted out at football matches right across the country every weekend. You might not like it, but it’s just the way things are. It’s a slur, sure, but let’s all grow thick skin here. Sticks and stones, surely. You can bet some hyper-anti this anti-that fans, players or high-profile celebs or brand ambassadors tweeting “Suck on that, breeders” would still becoming to football matches week in week out.
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