Thought Police Arrests Three Gillingham Fans For Allegedly Racially Abusing Rotherham’s Scottish Manager
DID you hear the one about the Gillingham fans arrested for allegedly abusing the Rotherham manager for being Scottish? The alleged abuse occurred during Gillingham’s 4-3 defeat at the Priestfield Stadium?
The story goes that Rotherham manager Steve Evans was allegedly racially abused by three men – aged 24, 27 and 57 – during last weekend’s League One game. The three have been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. The three have been released on bail until May 7.
Kent Online has some background:
It is not the first time Mr Evans and the Gills have been involved in allegations of racial abuse. The Scot previously made an official complaint in 2011 about then Gills boss, Andy Hessenthaler, after a heated exchange at a boxing day match when he was manager of Crawley Town.
As words were exchanged between players and staff of both teams. A police officer was sent into the changing rooms to calm the situation down.The complaint was later dropped by Mr Evans.
In his column in last Friday’s Messenger, Gills assistant manager John Schofield said that he expected a “side show” to come from the Rotherham boss on the sidelines.
So. There’s a spot of history between the home team an the visiting manager. There is context.
A police statement tells media:
“Kent Police is investigating an allegation that some Gillingham fans were chanting racist abuse at Rotherham manager Steve Evans during yesterday’s League One match. Three men aged 24, 27 and 57 were arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and have been released on bail until May 7 while officers make further inquiries.”
Mr Evans might have been abused. He might have been upset. But was it racist? Did three men deserve to have their liberty curtailed for what they might have said?
Are we all now so enlightened that calling someone a Scots so-and-so is an offence worthy of imprisonment? Are we now so touchy that a stupid, clumsy phrase from an idiot is worthy of police action?
Lord Macpherson’s 1999 report into the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence redefined a racial incident as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.
You can be an unwitting racist.
What price free speech now?