In England’s case it not only is brief, it also comes accompanied by tumultuous background stories, the obligatory storm in the teacup, if you like.
After England’s 2-0 win against Poland, Roy Hodgson spoke of having “died a thousand deaths” during the 90 minutes. He might die a few more by the time the row surrounding his “monkey joke” becomes a distant, albeit slightly distasteful, memory.
Two days all England fans cared about was Roy Hodgson’s team selection, now that accolade has been taken by the England manager’s joke which encouraged to give Andros Townsend the ball or, as newspapers duly informed us today, to “feed the monkey”.
Ironically the joke, when told in its entirety, portrays the monkey as far brighter, more intelligent, figure than a human being, hence the NASA’s decision to let the the monkey pilot the spaceship.
It’s hard to fathom why Roy Hodgson, a man whose integrity and intelligence has never been in doubt, would aim a racist jibe at one of his best players, particularly when said player was surrounded by his 22 teammates in the dressing room.
The England manager has since apologised for what he deemed to be a terrible misunderstanding, while Townsend admitted that he didn’t feel offended by the remark and Kick It Out, the anti-racism organisation, admitted the issue shouldn’t be taken any further given that the FA did not receive a formal complaint.
However, few of the parties involved in the story come out well from the latest melee in which the FA has somehow got itself tangled into.
Granted, Roy Hodgson could have been maybe a lit more tactful but sharing a very brainy analogy with his players doesn’t make him racist, nor does the fact that the news was published on newspapers mean journalists and media have started a campaign to undermine England’s chances ahead of the World Cup.
The story was leaked, rather than fabricated which means that journalists have a duty to report it.
In this country, football has come a long way in its fight against racism and the day a journalist declines to report that an England player feels racially offended by the England the manager, the giant efforts English football has made against racial discrimination will vanish in the blink of an eye.
The media have hardly covered themselves in glory in recent years, but blaming them for doing their job is as ludicrous as accusing Hodgson of being a racist.
The wrath of the FA and of those who have defended Roy Hodgson should against the player or member of staff who cared enough about the issue to leak it to the national media, yet he obviously doesn’t deem it important enough to stand up and explain his decision.
Being offended by a joke that might have racist connotations is understandable, passing the story onto the media rather than seeking explanation with the man “guilty” of sharing said joke is utterly deplorable.