Date: 21st October 2012 at 10:06am
Written by:

Good morning.

Before the the aftermath the math – and a few moments of your invaluable time in relation to Kyle Walker. Today’s sermon is entitled, ‘Abuse, When Is Good Time For You And Will There Be Light Refreshments?’

Let me kick off by saying I didn’t send Kyle a nasty Tweet yesterday. Or at any other time. To the best of my knowledge I’ve only had a pop at two footballers on Twitter.  I definitely expressed a belief to ***** that he was a wage thief. That prompted about a dozen or so 15 year olds to tell me I was a very, very mean type. A rotter. The other was aimed at Rio Ferdinand who was re-Tweeted by someone else and I think I said, ‘Get off my TL you Jar Jar Binks looky-likey.’

The fallacy is of course that we should all be nice and tolerant to each other. Apologies if I’m the first person to shatter your illusion but there isn’t a place in the world where that actually happens. So if you think you can get a billion strangers together online and achieve that utopia, good luck.

‘Walker was abused.’ He must have been. It says so in this morning’s papers. I can’t find any examples but one can imagine the type of thing he was sent. ‘You’re ___’ and variations upon that theme. I really expensive barrister would have trouble defending him from such allegations. I’ve not been alone in gently trying to break to people for months he’s not very good at playing football.

Now, ‘You’re a black ___’ isn’t on. You see that is your common or garden racism. It’s not up for debate. Mindless, not nice. Against the law.

So what level of ‘abuse’ is acceptable? Well, that’s down to the individual I guess. My argument is that it isn’t unreasonable that people can express an opinion. And therefore it doesn’t have to be pleasant. In the instance of footballers we invest emotionally and financially and when we are disappointed it’s not unreasonable to express that. Not unreasonable at all*.

*Now, at a live game it is insane to do this. Nobody was ever motivated by booing to perform better. A moot point with a number of girlfriends over the years.

So after the game, it’s open season? Well, pretty much as long as you aren’t shouting through the poor bloke’s letterbox or sending him excrement on a daily basis in the post. So no racism and no poo poo.

Right. The final whistle goes and the donkeys that have ruined your afternoon are leaving the field. ‘You’re ___’ is about what they deserve. You don’t gush thank yous and say a long goodbye in a restaurant where you’ve been served inedible muck. Well unless you’re English. Even if you don’t send a stiff letter to the owner it’s quite normal you at least glare a bit.

So what about Tweeting your displeasure?

Well as it’s a written thing let’s think of it as a letter. Who knows Kyle Walker’s address? Me neither. I guess you could send him something via the club (remembering of course the no poo poo ruling). But it’s not very immediate. By the time you’ve found something to write on, a pen that works and tried to work out who actually sells stamps these days the moment will have passed.

That’s why increasingly you get in places like pizza chains little cards with your bill. To score your experience. Because otherwise the opportunities for the pizza company to victimize their staff would be quite limited. It’s all about the immediacy. ‘Let us know how you feel!’

So players set up Twitter accounts. Most footballers are a bit thin skinned. They are actively encouraging customers thoughts to reach them. This is their ‘little card with the bill. ‘Hey guess what? Not everyone will always enjoy their meal!

Now I don’t know what the ratio of good to bad comments people receive on Twitter but the block function is there for a reason. It’s for people who want to take part – and by default take their chances – yet still exercise some degree of control.There is another option. Don’t have an account.

Self control is a two way street.

Kyle Walker closed his Twitter account that he opened because people were saying nasty things to him. Will any of those nasty Tweets encouraged him to improve as a footballer? It’s difficult to believe they will.

Is it sad that people felt the need to tell him how furious they were? Of course, but not shocking. You leave a card with your bill, it’s beyond naive to think everyone will score you a ten.