This blog isn’t exclusively related to amateur football but the topic will no doubt have an impact on our game at some point in the future so I think it’s important to talk a bit about it.
Today the Scottish Football Association sensationally appointed a racist, homophobic, sexist and anti Semitic man into arguably the most important footballing position in the country. Malky Mackay is now officially Scotlands Performance Director. He will be responsible for overseeing the strategy designed to improve elite talent development across the game and work in partnership with the clubs to deliver successful future international players. He has a huge role in our game. Perhaps a more importantly role than the national team Manager some would say.
Only four years ago the very same man now charged with moulding the future of our national sport sent a series of vile text messages and emails to colleagues and associates and was later caught during a Cardiff City FC investigation. These messages were highly offensive to the Chinese community, the Jewish community, the gay community, black Africans and woman working in football. The exact wording of those messages can be found in the article below.
Mackay since apologised for what was said calling it “friendly banter” in what was no doubt an effort to save his reputation which was destroyed when the Daily Mail went to print. The above article also led to Crystal Palace making a dramatic u-turn in their decision to hire Mackay. Any person in their right mind can see that this was not friendly banter and I think to call it such is a slap in the face to those he managed to cause offence to. No club in their right mind would hire this guy because his personal beliefs place so many restrictions on the standards and expectations each major club aspire to achieve. It would cause uproar at clubs with sponsors turning their back in their droves and that would only be the tip of the iceberg.
If Mackay had simply been abusive in a non-descrimatory way to a colleague or member of staff and was sacked then I would say forgive him. Let him apologise and move on with his career. Everyone deserves a second chance. This isn’t about Mackay having a second chance though. This is about a major organisation under an intense spotlight employing someone with a horrible racist mindset. Mackay only apoligised for what he said because he was caught. If these were his opinions at the time then they will always be his opinions. The only thing he is sorry about is getting caught.
How does this look to any young, gay footballers who are too scared to come out because of what fans and team mates will think of them. Mackay the homophobe is now in charge of how this young boy, or girl will develop in the future. The player must adapt or play to his blueprint if they have any hope of playing for the national team. How can these players seriously hold any respect for this man or what his vision of football is for our kids.
Not only that, but what kind of message are we sending out to all young people here. Is it acceptable to say and behave how you like because after a passage of time all will be forgiven? Hugh Dallas was sacked by the SFA for forwarding an offensive email with suggestions of child abuse by the Pope. Quite rightly, the SFA took a stance and sent a clear message that behaviour of this nature would not be tolerated. What Dallas did was wrong and as far as I am aware he has not worked in British football since. Which makes it all the more bizarre that the same body now employs a man who has been exposed as having equal or worse views than Dallas in a far more prominent position. There is certainly a stack of evidence against Mackay that we know of to suggest his views are in the extreme end of discrimination.
Stewart Regan was today quoted as saying “From the start of the recruitment process, Malky was an outstanding candidate and by the end of that thorough process he was the outstanding candidate.” In footballing terms that may be the case but morally this news today is so, so wrong. It just seems to me that it suits the SFA on this occasion to turn a blind eye to Mackays past when others have been hung out to dry.
I have to say I am not surprised however.