When the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) hired Reg D Hunter you’d think they at least knew who he was and what his act consisted of wouldn’t you?
“The Professional Footballers’ Association has become embroiled in a fresh racism row after its chairman, Clarke Carlisle, admitted it was a “huge mistake” to hire the comedian Reginald D Hunter for the union’s annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. Hunter, a black American comedian renowned for racial humour, used the word “nigger” during his set at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, following two years in which high-profile incidents including the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand case and Luis Suárez’s abuse of Patrice Evra have blighted the game.” – guardian.co.uk
Seriously, how can there be a race row when 1. He’s Black and 2. did you not read 1? This was a Black American not a White Englishman. All these so called complaints probably don’t even exist and to be fair those who were offended were the probably white middle class in the room. Yes there have been issues in football in the last couple of years but they involved Black players being verbally abused by non-Black players – I don’t remember the case that dealt with the Black player using the word about himself.
There are three things wrong with this story for me.
1. Reg is a well known comedian and to claim that you’d only seen him on Have I got news for you and didn’t know he did race related material is bullshit. On his eleven appearances he has mentioned it nearly each time – it’s part of his shtick and routine that he talks about it because we have such a paranoia in this country about it. The irony is obviously lost on the PFA. If you are booking a comedian ensure you know what they do before you agree to anything. It’d be like hiring Fred West as your builder and asking him to watch your teenage daughters while you pop out to the shops. Know what you are hiring and don’t blame Reg D Hunter for your mistakes.
2. Football makes a lot of noise about Racism but when faced with it they tend to fudge the issue or think that getting footballers to pose with red cards will solve the problem. It won’t be solved as long as players who have been proven to be racist are not dealt with in a clear and harsh way. When I’m at a match there is very little racism from the crowd because campaigns like show racism the red card have done a lot to change attitudes and those who do make ill-advised comments are dealt with by the crowd. But when the Captain of England is caught saying something on the pitch – whether repeating it or not – there needs to be more than a slap on the wrist to sort the issue.
3. Finally we are surrounded by music, television programmes and films that are full of the “N” word and I don’t see Clarke Carlisle or anyone else moaning about that if his colleagues are listening or watching those in changing rooms or on the coaches to and from games. It is just a word and those using it these days in those contexts are “reclaiming” the word since it was used as a stick to beat them and their parent’s generation with. You might not agree with it but you have to understand the parameters that they are working in.
Storm in a teacup time as usual in football. If those in the game worried about themselves, their behaviour and the image they project rather than worrying about stories like this then perhaps they wouldn’t be seen as overpaid thick prima donnas,