The Prime Minister was quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying,
David Cameron has spoken out in support of the Tottenham’s fans use of the word ‘Yid’. The Prime Minister’s comment is directly opposed to the stance taken by the Football Association who threatened Spurs fans with prosecution for using the term. The threat made by the FA did little to discourage the use of the word at last weekend’s match at White Hart Lane against Norwich when fans regularly chanted, “Yid-Army”.
There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult. You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted but only when it’s motivated by hate.
HotspurHQ’s views were expressed in a blog last week.
The Football Association have issued a warning all fans including Tottenham supporters from using the term ‘Yid’ as reported by the Guardian, saying that it could be a criminal offence.
Yids – you know sweet FA
I have written plenty in support of the Football Association recently but they have got it totally wrong in threatening Spurs fans with prosecution and expulsion over their use of the term Yids. Somebody at the FA has got carried away with political correctness and is using it in the wrong context in this case.
I fully support and endorse the idea that official supporters organisations may make a legal challenge to any attempt to ban or prosecute Spurs fans that choose to use it as a badge of identity and honour. I have a good deal of experience in legal argument and I am convinced that the FA would lose hands down. This is one step too far on the political front.
The FA should step back from it now and direct their anti-racism efforts elsewhere, like taking serious action in the face of the abuse that black players get on England duty, instead of just whingeing about it. It’s like they don’t have a real understanding of the issue, despite them saying they know it is complex.
It seems to me that the legal advice they are getting is dodgy and will fail under a well-argued challenge from a half decent barrister. If they really understood the complexity they would not be issuing blanket threats to a whole section of the community. The fact that a Jewish celebrity Chelsea supporter has come out publicly in favour of a ban does not make it right. It is just one more opinion, as is mine expressed here. I would go so far as to say that in putting out the kind of statement they have, the FA is discriminating against and threatening a category of supporter. In doing so, they are committing a racist act and should be liable to prosecution themselves.
I accept they are working with the best of intentions but they are wrong on this one. It is not OK to ban people of a certain religion or race from using a term to describe themselves just because someone else might chose to be offended. If you chose to be offended, that’s your choice. Be offended and get over it. That does not make our use of the term racist.
Oh and anticipating the reaction and challenge this is going to pull down on me, no I am not Jewish. In my view that does not negate my right to express an opinion on this. After a lifetime supporting Spurs, right back to the time when we used to stand on the terraces, I have been made to feel like an honorary guest member of the community for the purposes of supporting Spurs. An honorary Yid, in the best sense, if you like. I have chanted “Yid Army” with gusto, in the same way that I would chant “Come on You Spurs”.
In its article on the subject the Daily Mail says,
The Metropolitan Police, however, has previously advised Spurs that mass chants such as ‘Yid Army’ will not lead to prosecution on the basis there is no ‘deliberate intention to cause offence’.
That should be enough for you FA. Now leave it at that unless you want to be seriously embarrassed in Court, or worse. You have enough important battles to fight in the country’s interest. Why choose this now? Are you looking for good publicity to counteract the storm that is going to grow over Greg Dyke’s excellent speech and maybe you think this is a soft target? Please look for something else.
Whilst this is a serious subject, this true tale hopefully will bring a smile to your lips. I make no apologies if I have told this one before as it bears repeating here and now. Back in the ‘80s I was behind the goal in the Park Lane End. There were three lads in the row in front of me; two were about 15, one was younger, about 11, presumably a younger brother. The drums beat out the rhythm and the chant went up “Yids, Yids”. In a quiet pause, the little one, chewing on a sandwich said, “Why do we always shout Yids?” Without taking his eye of the game, big brother responded matter of factly, “Because we are circumcised and we are proud of it.” There you are then, from the mouths of babes as they say. No intent to offend or upset anyone. Just proud of who they were, of their heritage and that they belonged. And for a moment it made me feel like I belonged too.
Please respect that and leave them alone.