A Wrong Response To The Mackay-Moody Texts


The texts between Malky Mackay and Iain Moody may be distasteful, but aren’t we all guilty of casual prejudice? And shouldn’t the scandal open a debate, rather than the men losing their careers, asks Rob Buchanan?


A series of disgraceful text messages and emails between former Cardiff manager, Malky Mackay and Iain Moody, his former head of recruitment and Director of Crystal Palace, have given an insight in to the private opinions of two of the FA’s top brass.

The homophobic, racist and misogynistic nature of their texts may be disgusting and juvenile, but sadly it is hardly shocking. Both men have resigned from their roles, which is unsurprising given the huge swathes of players and colleagues they so roundly disparaged, but I think this is more a case of both men falling on their respective swords than anything that’s going to change football for the better.

As for the actual content of the text messages, it was hardly sophisticated right-wing rhetoric. Instead it was a reflection of the depressingly pervasive bigotry that rests just inches beneath the façade of cosmopolitan life. Jews, Koreans, large breasted women, and of course the homos all got a lambasted with a mixture ‘comedy’ and bitter criticism.

We’re all, including myself, capable of casual intolerance and absentminded discrimination and it was with some recognition of my own flaws in this respect that I tempered my outrage at the offensive messages with a bit of sympathy for the two men.

It is important to note that the handful of sentences were lifted from almost 70,000 text messages and 100,000 emails. If someone were to go though such a sample of your texts and email, including all the jokey ones, what would they be able to come up with? We’re all not as squeaky clean as we’d like to be portrayed.

We may not see ourselves as lazy homophobes, misogynists or racists, but many of us secretly submit to using knee-jerk labels and lazy vulgarity. I know all too well what it’s like to be on the receiving end of insults, yet that hasn’t made me entirely made me impervious to making the odd non-PC comment.

There are very distinct categories of prejudice and insult. There is the playful banter with mates based on your differences. There is the clandestine political incorrectness that we save for our confidants, whom we know we will not judge us for our off-colour opinions. And then there is the poisonous, intentional denigration of people, using words to not only label them ‘other’ but seek to dehumanize and debase them.

I think the Mackay-Moody texts, as unedifying as they are, fall in to the category of bonding through clandestine political incorrectness. In our constant vigilance against homophobia we must be wary to label people (especially those who would quickly label us). There is a difference between homophobic statements and homophobic people.

To dismiss people as racists or homophobes because of a handful of candid stupid comments is self-serving hypocrisy of the highest order. In doing so are we not being as reductionist and prejudicial as the very mindsets we are reacting against? It is not only immoral, it is also damaging to the cause of LGBT equality because by falling victim to the allure of self-righteousness we also become detached from the facts. We demonise people who might very likely be decent, non-homophobes and chase them right in to the hands of the real bigots and by indulging in witchhunts and self-gratifying victimhood. We also risk turning those sympathetic to our cause against us.

A far healthier response would be to give the perpetrators the right to reply and explain themselves. The Mackay-Moody texts should provide an opportunity for discourse on this kind of casual homophobia and the effect it has. Simply forcing the men to resign doesn’t go anywhere near that.

Education, not demonisation, is what will hopefully one day confine this kind of anti-social nonsense to the history books.
Think twice both before you say something prejudicial and also before you throw a stone when someone else does.

© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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