After an 11-month investigation into the racist, homophobic, sexist text messages reportedly exchanged between former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay and former Cardiff recruitment head Iain Moody, the English Football Association has charged the pair with … nothing.
But it has told them off, so everything’s cool, right?
The FA said in a statement that it wouldn’t act because the messages were “sent with a legitimate expectation of privacy.” Never mind that they were sent using the club’s equipment, and that once they’d been made public, many folks had a legitimate expectation of shameful behavior being punished.
The FA said that it had spoken to both men “about the inappropriateness of terms used in the messages” and that it would carry out a “complex review involving all stakeholders” about its communications policy. That, in a roundabout sort of way, suggests the FA realizes its current policy is useless.
In the FA’s defense, text messaging’s only been widespread for what, 20 years? Don’t want to rush into updating your rules. Maybe this whole cellphone, internet thing is just a passing fad.
The FA statement also went on to say that it’d looked into whether there was any more evidence of discriminatory behavior by the pair. Presumably they didn’t find any.
Anti-racism campaigners are, understandably, not happy. But the FA was notably swifter and more decisive when Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere called Tottenham “shit” during an open-top bus parade after his club won the FA Cup in May, charging him with misconduct and fining him 40,000 pounds.
No one wants the FA to be some sort of soccer Big Brother, acting like the Thought Police. Privacy in the digital era is a tricky balance to strike. But it’s surely in the interests of the sport and the reputation of British soccer that when senior EPL authority figures are revealed as bigots, somebody acts. Moody was swiftly fired by his next club, Crystal Palace, but Mackay got a job managing Wigan (which he lost because of poor results).
Nearly a year on from the scandal’s eruption, the FA should be asking itself what kind of message it has sent to the soccer world today.