I found the piece in question, and even if I had wanted to write something about it at the time, I simply couldn't. I had no words. I was shocked, disgusted, repulsed, horrified and confused about how such a vitriolic 'piece of journalism' could even go to print.
The piece I am talking about, of course, is Tam Cowan's opinion on women's football. I'm all for freedom of speech, and in particular a free press. Cowan's column though, is something I would not condone. In fact, it's something I would never want to read again.
|Daily Record - Cowan's paper|
The first pleasant little anecdote came in the form of: "That’s because Fir Park should have been torched on Thursday in order to cleanse the stadium after it played host to women’s football."
The discriminatory language he chose to use made women on a football pitch sound like diseased vermin in a filthy sewerage. The word 'cleanse' made it sound like these women were germ ridden creatures. It made them sound like they were not even human - the way Tam Cowan used those words (intentionally or not) was reminiscent of how Jewry were described in Nazi Germany.
"Why do they still persevere with this turgid spectacle? And why was it allowed anywhere near Motherwell’s hallowed turf?"
Again, the language in this sentence implies that women's football is a contagious disease which needs to be contained, quarantined and essentially destroyed. And we are striving for equality? It doesn't look like it.
I have no problem with criticism towards women's football, I really don't. It's a completely different game to male football. It's less physical, slower, some may say less technical, and a lower standard too.
But why is it a lower standard? Hell, I don't know, maybe because most female footballers still have to have jobs in other industries to fund their lives leaving them with (at most) four training sessions a week. Maybe it's because the percentage of sponsorship that goes towards women's sports is 0.5% compared to a staggering 61% towards male sports, with the remainder going towards mixed sports.
Or maybe it's because, as Tam Cowan kindly puts it, "nobody cares about women’s football."
I could absolutely rip Tam Cowan's piece to shreds by highlighting his inexplicably contradicting piece written two years ago, where he slates Richard Keyes and Andy Gray for their comments made about Sian Massey. I'm not going to do that because I don't really want to lower myself to that sort of childish behaviour.
The sort of language used in Cowan's article is not contributing to a free press - the way I would describe it is more like inciting hatred. A free press suggests freedom to express opinion, something I agree with. But I do not consider such hateful, violent and aggressive expression appropriate for such easily accessible reading.
Would you want your 11 year old daughter who wants to play football to read and suffer that kind of abuse which has been condoned in a paper? The Daily Record have of course said that Cowan's piece does not represent their opinions, BUT to allow such a discriminatory piece publication is a failure to the public.
I pose this to the Daily Record - would you publish the same piece in your paper if the word 'female' or 'women' was changed to 'black', or 'Asian', or 'Muslim', or 'gay'? No. I really do not think you would publish a piece that suggests a stadium should be 'torched and cleansed' after a group of black, Asian, Muslim, or gay footballers had played in it.
SO WHY THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU THINK IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO PUBLISH THE SAME PIECE ABOUT WOMEN???
Here are the links to both of the articles mentioned in this blog: