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Ian Wright claims football media and the FA are both racist

By Tony Attwood

Ian Wright made his comments last night on BBC Radio 5, and I think it is fair to say that it caused the chair of the discussion and the other guests a certain on the show an amount of discomfort and uncertainty as to how to handle the conversation thereafter.

Unfortunately for me I was driving to a gig at the time and so could neither record the show nor make notes as it went along, but the thankfully the BBC has put that part of the discussion on its web site. Ian Wright said, speaking in relation to Sterling playing for England,

“How many people do you see get the criticism Sterling gets?  The football criticism is something every player has to deal with, but what he gets I don’t see any other footballer getting.  They don’t get that stick because for whatever reason they don’t rub up the people in the corridors of power the wrong way. I think there is an agenda against him.

“There is an element of people at high end of the media who want to keep that guy down. Simple.  When you look at the wave of criticism that he takes, there is a certain amount of racism towards it – what else can it be?

“They are picking on him because of the background he has come from and they want to keep him down, drag him back down. They don’t want him to continue to be a success.”

It is the sort of criticism of the media (and indeed the FA) that one does not often hear, largely because for the media to report such criticism it is commenting negatively upon itself – which of course it won’t do.  Checking the web sites of the Guardian and Telegraph, two papers with very different political views, but both at the more educated and literate end of the spectrum, neither has a word about the discussion on its website.

Which is interesting, because it is hard to argue against the notion that an ex-England player calling the media and the FA both racist surely, is a story.

What adds to the story is that the comments by Ian Wright came just 24 hours after another BBC radio channel (Radio 4) broadcast a learned discussion on President Trump’s continuous attacks on the media, and what it means both for the reporting of events in America now, and what it could mean in the future.

That discussion, to my mind, had one very important point missing – despite the eminence and knowledge of the three people being interviewed (Lyse Doucette was one of them and you don’t get much more eminent than that in broadcasting).  That point was the media’s dual role: it not only decides what is and what is not news, it also takes a stance on the news.

Although in the broader context, my beef about how the media reports football is trivial when compared with Trump’s overarching demonizing of the media, the refusal even to mention Ian Wright’s allegations of racism against the media in its football reporting is telling.

The great problem with the English media in its reporting of football is, from my point of view (although I admit, not from too many other people’s point of view) is that whereas on issues of national debate there is often a range of views expressed by the media, when it comes to certain topics such as football, or one might also cite Jeremy Corbyn, and a few key political and religious matters, it is very much a one sided debate with no proper coverage of the alternative viewpoint.

But sticking with the football, it is very hard to find much criticism of the FA for its handling of the game, and when there is such criticism (such as with the Allerdyce affair) there is little commentary on how stupid the FA was in appointing a man with such a “colourful” background, if I might call it that.

As I have mentioned many a time, I was outraged by the way the media utterly refused to cover the story of how Sport England withdraw its funding from the FA for work on new facilities for young players because of the misuse of the money.  It was an utter scandal which in any other walk of life in the UK would have led to publicity and a proper public and parliamentary enquiry into the working of the organisation.  Nothing happened save that Sport England stopped funding the FA and Untold and a handful of other places covered it.

Indeed I would also suspect that very few people in the UK know that Parliament has passed a vote of no confidence in the FA – and yet the government ignores this and goes on funding the body with taxpayers’ money.  Despite this, its finances are in a total mess, and its internal structures have still not been reformed, despite call after call for it to sort itself out.  Meanwhile last year we had Mark Sampson, the manager of the England women’s team being sacked following evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour.  It is mentioned occasionally but it is just another event in a catalogue of failure.

Ian Wright’s evidence for racism in the media that he gave last night was sketchy and wouldn’t stand up in court, but for me that is not the issue.  It is the way the protest is ignored.  The banding together of much of the media to avoid any criticism of what it decides is and is not news, is one of the great problems that we have both in football, and in our country at large.

The BBC is far from perfect in its coverage of football, and much of the time does follow the herd, but at least this time, as indeed in the past over Allerdyce, it has stood up and let a dissenting voice be heard.

 

 

 

17 comments to Ian Wright claims football media and the FA are both racist

  • Nitram

    And this accusation of racism comes from a man who criticised a Frenchmen to an extent that was way way beyond any criticism that he or anyone else in the media, ever levelled at any other manager in the Premiership, particularly British ones.

    Was that not a form of racism ?

    Or is singling out a Frenchman for excessive critisism different to singling out a black man ?

    Wright is a nasty little man with more chips on his shoulder than there are leaves on a tree.

    Re Stirling, he may or may not have a point, but quite frankly if Ian Wright told me that grass was green I wouldn’t take him seriously.

    The guys a moronic hypocrite, plain and simple.

  • Ferg

    Ha, Indeed Nitram
    Although , I don’t see the relevance of your point to Tony’s media critical theme, what the hell, if the Tosser wishes to stick his neck out , it fully deserves a custard pie at the very least.
    Ironically, Tony’s assertions of media selfservitude may lead to an ultimate win here. Ian Shit for brains Wright loses his media voice altogether.
    Silence is Golden.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Okay,let’s talk about why Arsenal playing at home lost to Man City in the PL last Sunday for a change from Ian Wright accusing the media of racism. And ask Unai Emery and the Gunners to not repeat the lose they suffered against Man City at Chelsea in the PL on Saturday but win the big game when they go there to restore lost lost confidence to all the Arsenal families.

    Unai Emery and the Gunners who played well against Man City in my own seeing last Sunday at the Ems but lacked the finesse in marksmanship to score. Had Bellerin not shoot to Man City goalkeeper’s hands but bend his shooting to far right side of the keeper, he might have equalised for Arsenal in the first half. The same thing applies to Aubameyang too who shot wide to the rigt side of the goal post. Had his shot been accurate he might have scored. Lacazette who came on for Ramsey had a golden opportunity to score but carelesly thrown away the chance. The Gunners had 3 begging scoring chances to score in the match which they created but lost all due to their poor marksmanship. And couple with their lack of tactical play to beat Man City’s offside traps saw Auba’s and Ozil’s 2 goals ruled out.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Sorry for my reposting my comment twice. But I edited it befote reposting.

    Okay, let’s talk about why Arsenal playing at home lost to Man City in the PL last Sunday for a change from Ian Wright accusing the media of racism. And ask Unai Emery and the Gunners to not repeat the lose we suffered against Man City at Chelsea in the PL on Saturday but win the big game when they go there to restore the Gooners hope to see Arsenal win the PL Title this season to all the Arsenal families.

    The Gunners who played well against Man City in my own seeing last Sunday at the Ems but lacked the finesse in marksmanship to score. Had Bellerin not shoot to Man City goalkeeper’s hand but bend his shooting to the far right side of the keeper, he might have equalised for Arsenal in the first half. The same thing applies to Aubameyang too who shot wide to the right side of the goal post. Had his shot been accurate he might have scored to compensate for Bellerin’s earlier miss. And Lacazette who came on for Ramsey had a golden opportunity to score but carelesly thrown away the chance. The Gunners had 3 begging scoring chances to score in the match which they created but lost all due to their poor marksmanship. And couple with their lack of tactical play to beat Man City’s offside traps saw Auba’s and Ozil’s 2 goals ruled out.

  • AFC1974

    Actually, let’s talk about Tony’s post. The core of it is the catalyst (or lack of) comments by Ian Wright.

    Great to see Nitram and Ferg brush aside and just pile in on Ian. Too lazy and ignores the accusation. If we are going to talk about his past, ask Tony how that man left everything out on the pitch for Arsenal. He was feeding off of long balls and scraps until DB10 arrived.

    I am far from a Sterling fan, but the levels of coverage that lad was getting was to put it mildly, awkward. It did/ does feel like an agenda, but I am not convinced as to why? I mean Harry K was praised to high heaven?

  • Jammy

    Whilst Sterling is seemingly criticized far more than the average player, the level of abuse aimed at him is only a fraction of what Ozil has to endure year in year out.

  • Ferg

    AFC1974 , just because he was a solid servant, doesn’t make him a good, knowledgable, or balanced individual, let alone ongoing televised opinion influencer. Tony’s subject was ,as I understood it, the untrustworthy nature of sports media in this country. You have sunk your teeth into the click bait, and good for you, but please don’t think your more earnest than the rest of us.
    Apart from proclaiming your undying affections for Mr Wright, did you have another point to add about the racism issue?

  • AFC1974

    Ferg, your’e triggered, I get it.

    I don’t have an undying affection for anyone, except say Arsenal.

    If you actual read my post, I do point out that the media attention was blown up and awkward compared to others and that I cannot fathom why? As in, are the media biased? Discuss.

    I didn’t know that you were the ‘Oracle’ and purveyor of all things and people relevant. I bow to your wisdom.

    It seem the BBC, in their wisdom have kept faith with Ian over a sustained period of time – I think he knows a thing or two more on all things football than the likes of you and I.

  • AFC1974

    Jammy

    Agreed on the Ozil point. It is insane.

  • Ferg

    The BBC have a great track record for employing respected and well balanced celebrity mouthpieces., of course.
    Hopefully they will evolve.

  • AFC1974

    Ferg,
    On a serious note, are you saying there is no apparent ‘agenda’ bias, be it racist or not on Sterling? As, so far, you’ve not really added anything meaningful either. As I’ve said also, I think the media have the knives out for Ozil too.

  • Ferg

    Haha, serious now. Not entirely my comfort zone, but I’ll give it a whirl.
    Who’s this Stirling fella?

  • Ferg

    ….
    Sterling upset the Liverpool faithful …. the media love the scallions like you love Wrighty. He has never shown any remorse which irks them even more.
    Haven’t really followed his press closely enough recently as he’s not a gooner, to comment on the appropriateness of current criticisms.
    Wrighty emits unfiltered thoughts depending upon the wind, in my humble opinion. Rarely has any rational framework for his musings. Ozil is a more measured individual. I give his words a lot more attention.

  • AFC1974

    Now that wasn’t too difficult was it ?

  • Nitram

    AFC1974

    My point is about the hypocrisy of the man.

    Is it not racist to ‘pick on’ a Frenchman – Wenger?

    Is it not racist to ‘pick on’ a German – Ozil?

    Is it not racist to ‘pick on’ a Swiss – Xhaka?

    I’ve lost count of the amount of Arsenal players that have received far more media abuse than Stirling ever has, and from all different Nationalities, and I don’t recall Wright ever mentioning ‘racism’ once in any of those instances.

    Those 3 initial instances alone have had at least as much, and in one case infinitely more media abuse than Stirling has ever received, and a lot of it from Wright himself.

    Look, I am not saying Wright is right or wrong about Sterling being picked on, all I am asking is:

    -Why does he see this particular case of ‘picking on someone’ as racist?

    -Why hasn’t he made the same accusations of racism in Ozil, Xhakas or any other cases?

    -Why does he appear to exclude himself from being a racist when he has played a major part in a massive media campaign that has criticised and insulted a Frenchmen for well over a decade?

    If you are going to start throwing these stones about you better be pretty sure you are not standing in a greenhouse, and I’m not sure he can be.

    And no, I cannot stand the man because he is a hateful, bitter and twisted hypocrite, and whether he scored ten, a hundred, or a thousand goals for Arsenal is irrelevant.

  • AFC1974

    Decent post Nitram.

    I think, Ian is making this is about ‘colour’

    As a man of colour, when he is negative about AW, I’m not entirely sure that is racist.

    Only he knows ??‍♂️

  • Nitram

    AFC1974

    100% agree

    I think he IS making a point about colour rather than race, but I don’t think you can separate the 2 can you?

    Because it seems to me in so doing you are somehow allowing yourself, for example, to see an insult against a white Frenchmen as somehow acceptable, where as an insult against a black Frenchman isn’t, simply because he is black, and that cannot be right surely? The 2 are surely inseparable.

    The question is does Wright see the over the top criticism of Sterling as unacceptable simply because he is black and the over the top criticism of Wenger as acceptable simply because he is white?

    Either way drawing different conclusions on the basis of either colour or race is unacceptable.

    I feel Wright, having opened this particular can of worms needs to explain himself. Unfortunately I doubt he will.

    As for whether he sees his ongoing agenda against Wenger as racist, as you say, only he knows.

    Personally I doubt he is, but I have absolutely no doubt that he is a complete an utter hypocrite., and a nasty little man to boot.

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