VIL­LAINS OF PIECE ARE THE CRIT­ICS

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

DAVID Moyes isn’t a misog­y­nist. It is those spin­ning the story and writ­ing the head­lines who are. The Sun­der­land boss was caught on cam­era warn­ing BBC re­porter Vicki Sparks that her ques­tions were “naughty” and she “might get a slap, even though (you’re) a woman”. Moyes’ re­ac­tion was ugly and un­pro­fes­sional, but was it sex­ist? No way. It’s a clas­sic case of grasp­ing to in­ject words with an ‘ism’ to gen­er­ate out­rage. Where ex­actly was the dis­crim­i­na­tion? If a man is ex­pected to threaten vi­o­lence to both sexes with­out caveat or con­science, that is a Pyrrhic vic­tory for equal­ity. The story here is pretty sim­ple: un­der­pres­sure man­ager threat­ens in­no­cent jour­nal­ist with vi­o­lence. Yet al­most ev­ery re­port of the in­ci­dent men­tioned promi­nently that Sparks was a woman. Was that nec­es­sary? Was it rel­e­vant? I’d ar­gue that it wasn’t. And that means those do­ing the writ­ing saw Sparks – de­lib­er­ately or other­wise – as a woman first and a re­porter sec­ond. That kind of in­sid­i­ous sex­ism is far more dam­ag­ing than any­thing Moyes said and a dispir­it­ing re­minder of how far away gen­uine equal­ity re­mains.

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