The Daily Record can sure pick them can’t they? First Tam Cowan, then Gordon Parks and now Keith Jackson have all looked down their noses at women’s football and forced their misogynist views upon us.
On the back of England’s national team reaching the semi final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Jackson took to twitter in another rant on how women’s football was crap and that the BBC’s ‘over promotion of the tournament is a scandal’.
This coming from a guy who has rounded on the BBC for failing to put money into their coverage of the Scottish game – which is labelled by many a sports journalist south of the border as crap also.
You could possibly forgive Jackson for peddling such mince, given that the words of a high court judge is fresh in the mind when he labelled the Record ‘a newspaper which wants to make a splash, invariably through hyperbole’ and a Jackson article as merely ‘sensational tabloid journalism’.
But don’t dare tackle Jackson on his views though – if they differ from his then you will be labelled an internet bampot, a drunk, a mad bigot or will target you over the way you look. And this is what passes for one of Scotland’s top sports journalists nowadays – an award winning one at that!
Gone are the days of golden era of Scottish sports journalism with our game being reported on by the likes of Bob Crampsey, Arthur Montford, Archie MacPherson,Hugh McIlvanney [two latter journos still in the game]etc. – now we are being subjected to the hyperbole and sensationalist musings of award winning journo Keith Jackson. And you wonder why newspaper sales are dwindling on a regular basis.
Women’s football in Scotland has seen a surge of coverage recently thanks to the efforts of SWPL champions Glasgow City – in Europe – and the Scottish Women’s national team. With the media jumping on the bandwagon of their success – before it you would have been hard pressed to get one column length in one of the so-called top newspapers in our country.
Just imagine the clamour of sports journalists asking their employers to cover the World Cup in Canada if Scotland had reached the competition. The offer of an all-expenses paid trip to the tournament would have seen those journalists who rubbish the women’s game on a regular basis running the quickest to their editor’s for the plane tickets.
Keith Jackson and Gordon Parks would have been the first to put their names down for the all-expenses trip.
Tam Cowan – now at the Scottish Sun – was suspended by BBC Scotland after a newspaper article he wrote for the Daily Record described women footballers as ‘blokes’ and said that Fir Park – which hosted a Scotland WNT match – should be burned down.
At the time, Cowan said: “If I had my way, today’s Premiership fixture between Motherwell and Ross County would have been cancelled. That’s because Fir Park should have been torched on Thursday in order to cleanse the stadium after it played host to women’s football.
“Why do they still persevere with this turgid spectacle? And why was it allowed anywhere near Motherwell’s hallowed turf? Admittedly, I’ve not seen a lot of women’s football – just a few little snatches – and I’m not having a pop at the people taking part.
He added: “If women’s football is so good, where the hell are all the supporters? Surely even the most fervent fans must agree it’s time to chuck it? Face it, folks, nobody cares about women’s football. There was barely a thousand inside the ground, shocking for an international in ANY sport, and I guess putting the girlies head-to-head with Emmerdale and Eastenders was a bit daft.
“For anyone remotely interested, Scotland won 7-0 and Bosnia-Herzegovina were utterly dire. I honestly think they’d struggle to take three or four goals off St Mirren. This was a Group 4 game and the Bosnian team looked as if they’d just arrived in one of their vans. Did you see their goalie? She put the baws into Bosnia (although on the off-chance she reads this, I hasten to add I’m only kidding).”
It wasn’t the first time that Cowan peddled his misogynist views on the women’s game in the Daily Record. In 2003, he wrote a column on the resignation of manager Barney Davidson from Gretna’s women’s football team.
He labelled Gretna’s footballers as ‘lesbian players’ and that the ‘numerous affairs between team mates set tongues wagging and with team spirit destroyed’ Davidson quit.
Not once did Cowan quote Davidson, but he had more than enough to say about the Gretna players sexuality. He continued: “The manager reckons eight of his 17-strong outfit (which plays, presumably, in the Beaver Homes League) are “Eric Sykes” and I found this pretty surprising.
“You see, having carefully studied the team photo in Wednesday’s papers – and don’t say you didn’t play exactly the same game at home – I could spot only four. There may have been a fifth but it’s hard to tell as her face is partially clouded by the smoke from a colleague’s pipe.
“Trouble has apparently been brewing at the club for some time. A few weeks back, for example, one of the players decided to shave her legs just before a match – and totally knackered the furious groundsman’s Flymo.
“Even the pre-match huddle was causing bother. A recent kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes after two of the players’ sideburns became entangled.”
The Daily Record also published an article by Gordon Parks in 2013, where he criticised the Scottish FA for funding the women’s game. He was rightly condemned for the idiotic and sexist comments in the article – and was rightly shown up thereafter on national television by Glasgow City’s General Manager Laura Montgomery as he sat squirming on the Scotland Tonight sofa.
Parks was then shown up once again at a training session with the Hamilton Accies WFC – where he was on the end of a rather robust tackle.
He has kept quiet since then but three days ago in another article, this time rounding on the World Cup in Canada – Parks labelled those who confronted him over his views previously as a ‘cyber-lynch mob crying foul amid accusations of sexism and worse’.
The fact that the Daily Record allowed these comments to be published in the first place is disgraceful, even more so given their own ‘house rules’ for commenters on articles. Their house rules state: “We want the Daily Record and Sunday Mail web and mobile sites to be an open area for you to read and discuss the news and sport, share your opinions and see what other readers have to say.
“We need to keep this a healthy and decent environment and will not tolerate comments which contravene our House Rules and/or our general Terms and Conditions.
“This includes abuse, harassment, swearing, racism, sexism, homophobia and sectarianism. Readers should be aware that we will co-operate fully with the authorities or with any court order requesting or requiring us to disclose the identity or location of anyone who has breached our rules.”
The house rules continued: “We reserve the right to remove comments that: 1.Contain swear words or other indecent language, including sexually explicit terms. 2.Are sectarian, racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive. 3.Are abusive, harassing or threatening.”
Three Daily Record journalists posting misogynist [sexist]comments about women’s football and the players themselves – yet the newspaper continues to employ them in clear breach of their own house rules that they impose on their readers.
I would certainly not take advice on women’s football from the likes of Cowan, Parks or Jackson. In my years of covering women’s football – close to six years now – not once have I seen either of the three at a game: domestic, European or international. Yet they feel themselves experienced enough to judge the women’s game from a few minutes of watching it on the TV?
Just look at Scotland’s national team – we have players in the top leagues of Scotland, England, Sweden, USA, Germany and Italy. Playing for the likes of Manchester City, Glasgow City, Seattle Reign, Arsenal and Bayern Munich. And have reached the playoffs of both the World Cup and the European Championships – before falling at the final hurdle.
Then we have Glasgow City who are regular participants in Europe and reached the quarter finals of last season’s Women’s Champions League where they were eventually defeated by the superior Paris St. Germain.
At a time that the Scottish game is facing calls to change to improve it across the board, from summer football and ticket pricing to how we market the game. Three of our sports journalists just can’t help themselves to peddle their hatred for women’s football because of their own sexist views.
But hey Keith says he isn’t sexist because he watches women’s tennis – in his words it is excellent. Was that the standard of women’s tennis he was talking about or the short skimpy outfits that the players wear? He wasn’t really that clear.
It wasn’t that long ago that women’s tennis was labelled crap by the same media outlets that now report on it en masse also.
Over 15 million viewers have watched the past three women’s world cup quarter final games – Scottish football top flight games would struggle to achieve that amount. Imagine if Scottish football was marketed as properly as the women’s game is done in the likes of the USA, Germany, Sweden, Japan etc.
But hey our hacks seem to be more comfortable peddling hyperbole and their sensationalist articles than actually talking up our game. It seems that is only reserved for those special cases close to the heart.
God forbid Jackson ever becomes a sports editor at one of our Scottish mainstream newspapers – you can kiss goodbye to the coverage we have of the women’s game currently [the little we have]– and will be subjected to sports coverage only he loves.
I wonder if Jackson will take up an invitation from a club in the women’s game here to attend a training session like his Daily Record colleague Gordon Parks did? I doubt it though as Jackson is more talk than action.
What a future Scottish mainstream journalism has under Jackson’s leadership.