Pic: The Sun’s Roy Hodgson front page this morning has caused a bit of a stir
Racism is a serious issue and should be treated as such, but The Sun have made a bit of a big deal out of an alleged racial slur used by England manager Roy Hodgson on Tuesday night.
In case you haven’t heard at this stage, Hodgson is believed to have used an incredibly long-winded joke in his half-time speech during England’s clash with Poland in order to get the message across to Chris Smalling to get in-form Andros Townsend on the ball as often as possible.
Without repeating it in its entirety here, the age-old joke involved NASA, a monkey going into space and the line ‘feed the monkey’ and while we’re not sure why Hodgson didn’t just say ‘Chris, pass the ball to Andros,’ we’re pretty sure he meant no offence and he emphasised as much when releasing a statement when realising that it had become something of an issue.
"I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time," Hodgson said.
"There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate. I made this clear straight away to Andros in the dressing-room. I also spoke to Andros again on Wednesday. He has assured me and the FA he did not take any offence and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended."
Despite Hodgson’s comments, The Sun went big on the story on their front page, claiming that at least one and possibly more players were upset by what was insinuated in Hodgson’s team-talk.
TODAY'S front page of THE SUN pic.twitter.com/xAvnTOWdKW
— The Sun Newspaper (@TheSunNewspaper) October 17, 2013
There has been a backlash against the over-the-top coverage of the story in The Sun and elsewhere this morning, with Wayne Rooney one of many to jump to Hodgson’s defence.
Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 17, 2013
As we said previously, racism in football and society is a serious issue and shouldn’t be trivialised but as has been pointed out elsewhere, the rush to attach racist undertones to the story is arguably more of an issue than what Hodgson himself said in what was an admittedly pretty crappy joke.
In any case, Hodgson and the FA have moved to nip the issue in the bud as soon as possible, so hopefully we'll have heard the last of it before too long.