Well it’s been the stocks and pillory for poor old David Moyes, who doomed himself with his first public apology. He has not been allowed to stop apologising since and his punishment by public humiliation is set to continue.
Now they have scented blood they are circling for the kill; ‘they’ being the feminist pack out to get him. The rattled PC authorities are doing their work for them and reeling him in. The latest, at the time of writing, is that the Football Association have written to the Sunderland manager asking him to explain his behaviour.
For anyone who has managed to miss this story over the last twenty four hours, David Moyes has received an awful lot more attention than the desperate thousands being evacuated from Mosul. Yes I know football provides the heart beat of the nation and that David Moyes’s hard time at bottom of the league Sunderland is part of the nation’s story.
But no, he has not been drunk and disorderly, he has not beaten up one of his players on the pitch, he has not even shrieked obscenities at a woman, let alone groped her. No David’s most heinous of crimes was to offer a good natured reprimand to Vicki Sparks, a BBC woman sports interviewer, who’d managed to get under his skin following a goal-less draw with Burnley last month.
On parting and off air he uttered what has been translated into a terrible ‘threat’: “It was getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself,” Moyes told Sparks. “You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.”
Laughter all round followed, including, I am pretty sure, Vicki’s.
I have listened back, more than once. If there was any threat in his tone then I do not know what the word threat now means. Moyes’s tone was good natured and good humoured – even affectionate. What he was saying is that he wouldn’t have been quite so nice if she’d been a bloke – his replies would have been tougher.
Not that the dumb bunny equality-demanding critics noticed that at all. They were too busy bigging up the threat and ‘doing outrage’.
Shadow Sports Minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who tweeted: ‘David Moyes cannot get away with these sexist threats – the FA must take action immediately’, led the lynch mob, ably assisted by honorary feminist Gary Lineker, who said Moyes had treated Sparks with ‘utter disdain’ and that his actions were ‘inexcusable’. Oh dear me!
And not to be left out, the domestic abuse charity Wearside Women in Need entered the fray, ‘appalled’ by the 53-year-old’s behaviour.
It proved a good PR opportunity too for Women in Football (who describe themselves as a network of professional women working in and around the football industry, heaven help us). They tell us they “are deeply disappointed and concerned by the threatening language used by Sunderland manager David Moyes towards BBC reporter, Vicki Sparks”.
No apology it turns out is good enough. Moyes apologised privately to Vicki and she accepted it. But it was never going to be left at that.
Now a shell-shocked Moyes is being made to apologise again and again to prove his contrition. The poor chap says he deeply regrets his comments and protests that ‘It’s not the person I am’. What he means, of course, it is not what they are making it out to be – that’s he is not a monster, but a decent bloke, a dad who has encouraged his daughter to play football to boot – so hardly a misogynist. What’s so sickening is that everyone knows it – that of course he is not a monster.
So no doubt the progressive liberal pack who’re still hounding him will claim another scalp, having wrecked another career.
I cannot be the only one to be discomfited by this bullying that everyone in the media seems party to these days and by these forced apologies – these modern televised show trials demanded of men who step out line. Yet I can’t find anyone of note who has stood up for him or said this has been blown out of all proportion. Which it has.
This is a crying shame and shame on the Football Association too. If this is the way they are going they might as well put their hands up and hand over to Women in Football and say goodbye to football as a male sport, which is just what the feminists want, of course.
Postscript: Matthew Sayed has proved an honourable exception – taking on ‘mob rule’ and ‘PCdom’ on the BBC’s Today programme this morning.
(Image: Giovanni Batista Rodriguez)