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The Manager and the Media: Pearce Race Case

Saturday 11th February 2012
The front page of this morning's issue of ‘The Sun' carried the headline ‘England in Race Storm No2', referring to allegations made against newly appointed caretaker manager Stuart Pearce stating that he racially abused fellow ex-England international Paul Ince during a game between Forest and United in 1994.

The revelation comes against the backdrop of John Terry being stripped of the captaincy for his involvement in a racial enquiry which will investigate as to whether he is guilty of directing racial slurs towards Anton Ferdinand last year.

The article, written by Football Correspondent, Shaun Custis, has stirred controversy regarding the relationship between the media and affairs relating to the national team.

It certainly does seem like a nasty smear - dragging a previously uncovered skeleton from Pearce's closet the day he lands the big job, after years of involvement with the England set up including his role as the national Olympic football coach.

What is also startling, as pointed out this morning on national radio station Talksport by Brian Moore – the article does not position this as a reason for him not to have been appointed. It simply throws it out there that Stuart Pearce has a marked past due to a damaging flashpoint.

The Sun is not my flavour of newspaper at the best of times, but nobody can condemn Shaun Custis for doing his job. His sole commitment is to sales and audience figures. Like it or not, the story has trended on social media sites and been discussed at length of national broadcasts – great day at the office.

As is often the case with The Sun Newspaper of course, we have a commitment as readers to decide where we stand on this. Racism has no place in football and it's a sorry sight to see it creeping back into prominence on the terraces and even more worryingly on the pitch.

This is different; the issue was dealt with in 1994, with Pearce issuing an apology to Ince for the racist remark. The two players stood side by side in England shirts 2 years later at Euro 96. It bears no relevance to Pearce's appointment yesterday.

The article also reports the political affiliation of Pearce's brother, reportedly a member of the BNP. That certainly isn't ideal, but judging him on the actions of others related to him is just unfair. If anyone ever suspected Pearce of being a racist, why the hell was he ever even allowed near an England dressing room in the first place?

Pearce has nurtured some of our best young black talents in the Under 21s such as Sturridge, Welbeck, Walcott, Richards, Smalling, Bertrand and Mancienne. If any of them tell me he is a racist, I'll listen, but hoisting a hatchet which was buried 18 years ago from its grave is no basis to go on.

Try as we might to liquidate racism from our own game, one harsh reality remains. The same commitments have not been met in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine and Poland our black footballers are in for a hard time – and I have every faith that no one will be more disgusted by it than Stuart Pearce.
Joe McNamara

Total articles: 12

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