There are currently two Scottish professional football clubs where in one case an active investigation is underway and in the other where an allegation of abuse has been made. Both editors and journalists involved in this area of investigation at a few papers in the last week are well aware of this but have chosen not to print a word of it.
A major part of why these stories are not being told is bigotry. At a few news outlets the abuse scandal has been taken control of by bigots - both staff journalists and freelances. Their main motivation appears not to be helping the victims but in both squashing the big story and trying to cast a dark shadow over Rangers FC through the use of subliminal images and inappropriate headlines, despite the club acting entirely as they should in handling the Neely case.
I myself will not name the two clubs - that’s not out of fear but simply because the mainstream media should be doing so; after all they have far more resources at their disposal than I have. They must answer for their silence. I will not help them escape their responsibility to their readers and wider society.
Almost as sinister as their silence over investigations they know are taking place are the repeated attempts at various outlets to promote the idea that Ibrox was a venue where abuse took place or was ignored. Hence in recent days we have seen goals.com, The Independent, The Sun and the Daily Record all feature headlines and pictures clearly implying such was the case. Goals, the Independent and the Record have all either apologised and removed aspects of their coverage. Which begs the question - “why publish such material in the first place?”
There’s clearly an agenda at work here.Thankfully, the club’s often maligned PR function has been (reasonably) quick to challenge these examples.
However, we must not allow this sinister behaviour to detract from the vital task of ensuring the safety of children and young adults within the care of football clubs. Paedophiles are vile but they are often highly intelligent, plausible and manipulative. To counter them you need both good policies AND the will to act decisively when an allegation is brought to your attention.
Child protection must never be a box-ticking exercise - it must be active and organisational complacency can’t be tolerated.
An enquiry - and an independent one - looks increasingly necessary.