In light of Gregory Campbell’s recent mock-outraged condemnation of James McClean’s taste in Irish rebel music and his subsequent demand that McClean act as an example for our youth, I must ask: from where does this notion arise that footballers - private individuals performing their profession with no contractual duty or obligation to members of the public - ought to be examples for our society’s young?
What of elected public representatives then? Whether or not [Mr] Campbell’s views have softened somewhat in recent years, his contemporary dialogue is still tainted with a deep sense of bitterness and antagonism that only serves to further fuel local division.
It is telling that [Mr] Campbell saw fit only to be “offended” by McClean’s tweet about his favourite Wolfe Tones song. Fellow Irish internationals, David Meyler and Darren O’Dea, also tweeted about their admiration of the Wolfe Tones on the same day, but I suppose there is little mileage to be had for Campbell in attacking Cork or Dublin footballers of lesser “media notoriety”.
There is also a rich irony in this episode; perhaps more fitting targets for [Mr] Campbell’s criticism this week would have been the fans of his beloved Glasgow Rangers who, once again, provoked negative headlines after engaging in the singing of pro-UVF chants during their club’s game at Berwick Rangers broadcast live on television last Saturday. The only reason McClean was making headlines again was because of Campbell’s needless cherry-picking.