Though Dalrymple has no interest in sports – he once said that his greatest athletic feat was being sent off during a football match…for reading on the pitch – he dissects the sloppy thinking behind the racism charges against Premiere League footballer Luis Suarez. From the Social Affairs Unit:
Unfortunately, there is a trend to make the perception of insult (or bullying) the test of whether insult (or bullying) has actually taken place. You are insulted or bullied if you think you have been insulted or bullied, and the only proof required that you have been insulted or bullied is your belief that you have been. No evidence that your belief is reasonable or justified is required; and so bureaucrats, acting in a pseudo-judicial way, have an ever-expanding locus standi to interfere in everyday life.While in this case the deliberately insulting nature of the words used seems little in doubt, I find it alarming that people are now prepared to go running to the authorities, like children to teacher, over what was, after all, a minor incident that, moreover, was soon over. The very fact that we can run to authorities to ask them to take action over such trivia renders us psychologically fragile and more, not less, liable to insult.….It seems preposterous to me that footballers of all people should be expected to speak like choirboys; but unless Evra is sentenced [for his own insulting statements], it is clear that we live under a regime of racial justice. It does not matter that this racial justice is intended to protect, not harm, minorities; the point is that it is not race- or colour-blind. Moreover, unpleasant gestalt switches have been known to happen. The over-zealous rooters-out of racism and the BNP have more in common than they probably would like to admit, among it a highly racialised view of the world.
I wonder what our sports-watching British readers think of his assessment of the EPL:
The clubs are neither British-owned nor are their players British; on the whole they do not train up British players, and such British players as they have are often undisciplined; the clubs are seldom among the best in Europe, despite their players being the best-paid; and they are not even profitable. British professional football therefore seems like a metaphor for the British economy as a whole: fragile, ill-founded and a playground for spivs.
There’s clearly plenty of truth in his assessment of the EPL, but it also happens to be the most exciting, entertaining football on the planet. And ultimately entertainment is what sport is for. Unlike much of what Britain produces, the EPL is a great ‘product’ which regularly enthralls large numbers of people around the world. There may be better football from a technical point of view – La Liga, for instance – but there is nothing as exciting or gripping.
Thanks, David. That was my impression as well, as an American who follows the EPL only slightly (more for lack of opportunity than lack of interest).