The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

BEN Purkiss has noth­ing to apol­o­gise for. It is those whip­ping up an­other de­press­ing storm of faux out­rage who should be ashamed.

His sup­posed crime? Tak­ing a gen­tle dig at Harry Kane. “Harry is so pro­lific that he is able to score with­out touch­ing the ball,” said the Swin­don de­fender, who was mak­ing a speech in his role as PFA chair­man at last week­end’s awards bash.

Kane, of course, has been pil­lo­ried for suc­cess­fully claim­ing a goal against Stoke that ap­peared to miss him en­tirely.

As jokes go, Purkiss’ was milder than Fairy Liq­uid. Frankie Boyle cer­tainly won’t be fear­ing for his liveli­hood.

But, ac­cord­ing to some hys­ter­i­cal reporting, the Kane fam­ily feel ‘bul­lied’ and Purkiss is be­ing urged to re­cant or re­sign.

It’s ab­surd. Are we re­ally ex­pected to be­lieve that a man kicked, slan­dered and sledged ev­ery Satur­day af­ter­noon is deeply hurt by a well-in­ten­tioned jibe? A jibe, more­over, de­liv­ered amid a plethora of praise.

And do you re­ally think Kane hasn’t been rinsed by his own team­mates in train­ing? Of course he has. Prob­a­bly sev­eral times a day.

Bul­ly­ing blights mil­lions of lives, but not ev­ery joke con­sti­tutes abuse. Tack­ling the issue should never come at the ex­pense of sani­tis­ing free speech.

The sanc­ti­mo­nious whin­ing of too many in the me­dia is in dan­ger of do­ing just that.

SPEECH: Ben Purkiss

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