Football has continued from where it left off last month with more stories of acrimony arising from the beautiful game. To be clear, it has been two weeks since Chelsea fans were filmed singing “we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”. Two weeks it seems is enough time for such an issue to be brushed under the carpet, for something else to come along, to push it to the side-lines.
So step up Adam Johnson the teenage sensation at Middlesbrough who joined Manchester City for more money than you will earn in your life before flopping both for club and country. Yes, this hero to the people is the next footballer to hammer home football’s horrible reputation having been arrested for sex with a fifteen year old girl. And the football world was filled with outrage… surely? Well, not really. Only hours after the report, ‘Lad’ groups on Facebook began to, illegally, post photos of the minor that Johnson allegedly slept with. At which point fans jumped to Johnson’s defence, “well she doesn’t look 15 to me”, “I’d shag her”, “can’t blame him”.
The current top liked comment on ‘The Lad Bible’s’ post about the story is this “Tenner says she was out on a fake ID and then realised he was a footballer and blabbed for the publicity”. This is victim blaming and is wrong. Just like those who blame Ched Evans’ victim. This week in India, Mukesh Sing, who was part of a group who gang raped and murdered medical student Jyoti Singh on a bus in 2012 justified his actions by saying “she should just be silent and allow the rape”. What is the difference between the language used by ‘lads’ on Facebook and convicted murderers and rapists in India? The victim blaming, that women have to submit to a man’s penis even if it’s non-consensual, that it can be laughed off.
How can we not be outraged and disgusted by this language? The opinions of these fans, apologists for Adam Johnson and victim blamers have no place in society let alone football. This is less about Johnson’s case and more how football fans, the ‘lads’, have no shame in promoting rape culture. Worse than that, nobody cares. Nobody.
Okay maybe that example is extreme, these blokes on Facebook. They were just words. Indirect jokes with the boys. I get it. Because you wouldn’t say it to a woman’s face. You wouldn’t chant it at her with thousands of other people, to get her tits out, to show us where you piss from to tell her she’s a slag. Would you?
Sort it out football.
Photo Credit: Roger Gorączniak