Twitter user banned by Norwich City after racist tweets: an overview

I was hoping my first blog post about football would be somewhat more jovial than this, but it’s a subject that I take very seriously and it’s something I feel I need to add my two cents on: a Norwich City ‘fan’ has been banned from Carrow Road for life after making racially offensive comments towards new Norwich signing James Vaughn on Twitter. The story has been covered by both the Pink’un and the BBC. However, I saw the original offensive tweet and I’ve been following this ever since, and I feel I need to clear a few things up and give a few more details. What follows is my account of what happened:

NB This account is based on the proviso that everyone on Twitter is who they say they are, and all reported tweets are accurate. If it’s later shown that anything is inaccurate or that certain Twitter accounts have been hacked or are in a false name, I will of course correct the article.

The Case For the Prosecution

I follow the #ncfc hashtag on Twitter to get the latest news and opinions on the happenings at Norwich City FC, a team I’ve supported from the age of ten. In amongst the transfer rumours and good humoured banter, I was shocked and disgusted to read this tweet from @ODonoughoe, in reference to James Vaughn (beware, it contains some extremely nasty racist language, I’m not sure I feel comfortable repeating it):

@David_Tree He’s a f**king useless chav. Did f**k all at Palace last season and he’s another f**king nigger on the team we don’t need.

This tweet was quickly picked up on by myself and fellow Norwich fans who find racism deplorable. Rather than apologising for his actions, @ODonoughoe deleted the tweet fairly quickly and went on the defensive, tweeting things like “show me where I was racist”, “I’ve been misrepresented” and “it was taken out of context” etc. However, when quizzed about the issue it was pretty clear that he was unrepentant:

@ODonoughoe racist tweetsAgain, rather than apologise or simply stop, @ODonoughoe continued to dig a deeper hole for himself by claiming he was proud of Norwich City because most of the team were ‘White British’. While a few made the point that to be proud of being British is nationalistic, and being proud of being white is racist, @ODonoughoe explained himself thusly on more than one occasion:

black britishSo, according to Luke, there is no such thing as ‘Black British’. And he claims to not be a racist, remember.

Reaching a Wider Audience

I believe that had Luke just deleted the original tweet and left it at that, the whole thing might have blown over. However, former player and current pundit Mark Bright caused a bit of a stir when he seemingly out of nowhere declared that he didn’t want any Norwich fans following him, and that he would block any that did (this reportedly included Dion Dublin). That lead to a lot of head scratching and puzzlement from Bright’s followers, but after a few hours the beans were spilled and it was clear that @MarkBrighty was understandably unhappy at the actions of @ODonoughoe. This brought the matter to the attention of many, and the tweets of @ODonoughoe were shown to a wider audience. Following complaints to Norwich City FC by the fans, the matter was investigated and @ODonoughoe banned for life from Carrow Road.

Analysis

I’d like to congratulate Norwich City FC for being right on the money with this decision. Racism should have no place within today’s society at all, yet alone football. I rather hoped that the odious attitude of @ODonoughoe had been left in the past with the banana throwing and monkey chanting, and the life time ban is totally appropriate given the nature of his actions. I’d like to congratulate all the true NCFC fans who reported him.

As for Mark Bright, I’ve got mixed feelings. Tarring every Norwich fan with the same brush as one racist fan is completely wrong, and I’d like to know why he took so long to tell people why he was upset with Norwich City fans. Was it to build up a sense of drama and mystery before the big reveal? Who knows.

However, even though the tweets of @ODonoughoe give the impression of an unrepentant racist, he has at least attempted to be laudable. First off, he did try to offer an apology to James Vaughn (tweets are in real time so they are in the order of last to first):

apologyI find this to be a very half-hearted apology. He’s apologising for if he caused offence, yet he doesn’t recognise where or why he caused offence. There is no sign of any lessons learned here. However, here is something that I actually agree with:

mine aloneQuite right. I for one as a Norwich fan do not wish to be associated with the vile attitude of @ODonoughoe, and I’m sure everyone else on the #ncfc hashtag would agree with me.

So, hopefully you’ve now got the full story. You may be wondering “Why bring this up at all? It’s an ugly matter which detracts from the fact that Norwich City is a friendly family club and it just makes us look bad”. I feel it’s important to properly address the actions of @ODonoughoe, to show that he’s not been treated unfairly, this is not a case of ‘PC gone mad’, misrepresentation or any other right wing persecution fantasy. I feel very strongly about this, and if I can do something to keep racists out of the game then I will. There is an amazing atmosphere at Carrow Road, and I don’t want it soured by a few small minded bigots. As we go boldly in the Premier league, let us do so with a positive attitude, safe in the knowledge that our club is doing it’s best to stay a family club. OTBC!

Best of #ifevolutionweretrue on Twitter

You’ve got to love the #ifevolutionweretrue hashtag on Twitter. Invented by creationist tweeter @UndyingTruth, the aim is for creationists to use it to challenge the theory of evolution with a series of ‘how come?’ style questions. Of course, it’s yet another opportunity for creationsts to show their puzzlement and bafflement towards science. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites.

xTheDawnx asks:

missing link

Ah, the so-called ‘missing link’. It would be really nice if the creationists could define what it was supposed to be a link between. In common parlance, ‘missing link’ usually means a transitional form between humans and ‘lower apes’. Of course, the fossil record is full of them.

As the #ifevolutionweretrue hashtag is based on a Young Earth Creationist position, evolution is treated as an all-encompassing life philosophy rather than a scientific theory that explains the diversity of life on this planet. Hence this tweet from JoeCain23:

#ifevolutionweretrue lifeThis is a total non sequitur, as evolution is a scientific theory which has nothing to do with the meaning of life. Acceptance of evolution does not require you to be an atheist, as AronRa eloquently explains.

#ifevolutionweretrue floodThe idea that a Noachic flood best explains the fossil record is just completely wrong. Creationists believe that the global flood of Noah buried all the world’s organisms based on their ability to reach high ground. Humans could have reached the highest ground, therefore they appear first in the fossil record!

Happily, there are already a few sensible people on hand to offer up statements that support evolution. Here’s fellow skeptic Rob Hinckley:

Rob Hinckley evolution

I feel that I’ve saved the best till last:

evolution armsI have no idea where to start with this. In fact, I’m not even going to attempt to address it. I’m just going to stare at it in disbelief.

 

Back from Lisbon, Portugal. Bible hidden!

I’ve just got back from a trip to Lisbon, capital city of Portugal. Despite their economic problems and a ridiculously strong Euro (which is almost on par with sterling) I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, with many notable highlights.

Day one was spent largely at Lisbon Zoo. I’m not sure what they put in the feed there, but the animals were certainly more active than most zoos! I came face to face with a gurning chimp, the dolphin show was excellent, and one of the tigers walked right up for a perfect photo opportunity. I was also heartened to see human evolution represented very well, the primate house contained a great mural showing the relationships between us and the rest of the apes.

Lisbon Zoo TigerThe rest of trip was spent on the usual tourist jaunts, including some spectacular views from the caste, Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Food wise, we got a great lunch deal at the Michelin-starred restaurant Tavares, complete with it’s stunning gilded dining room. We had a curry at a Goan place, and the authentic Portuguese fare was very good too. Egg custard tarts for breakfast accompanied by freshly squeezed orange juice and a proper black coffee is certainly something I could’ve gotten used to!

I was slightly surprised by the lack of woo in Lisbon. I couldn’t see any homeopathy in the pharmacies, and the closest I came to a dodgy advert was a flier advising meditation. However, I’m sure that homeopathy must be available in Portugal, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen a Lisbon element of the 10:23 campaign. Overall, Lisbon seemed pretty rational. In fact, I remember seeing a discussion on gynaecological problems on a morning chat show where Candida albicans (a yeast I used to study) got a mention. I’d love to see that on This Morning!

Of course, I couldn’t resist leaving the hotel without taking up the challenge of hiding the Bible. In case you are not aware, the idea is that some people don’t want Bibles in their hotel rooms. Taking it away with you is stealing, writing on it is vandalism, but one option available is hiding it. I placed it underneath the cushion of the chair, safely out of sight!

Hide the bible 1Hide the bible 2

Hide the bible 3Hide the bible 4
All in all, I thought Lisbon was a fantastic place, I had a great time, the people were friendly, and the climate lovely too. They also had a massive flag, which of course made my trip!big flag

‘Stand Againt Vaccinations’ Facebook group gets busy after ‘upgrade’

Stand against vaccinationsFor awhile now, I’ve been an admin of the “Stand Against Vaccinations..Find Out the TRUTH” group on Facebook. It was founded as an anti-vaccine group, a place where people could spew misinformation that puts their own an other people’s children at risk. Various members were also pushing homeopathy, chiropractic and various other quack treatments, even chelation therapy. At some point, all the admins left, so a pro-vaxxer saw the opportunity and took it over, making myself an admin. We removed the censorship and posted some sensible advice to counteract the anecdotes being spouted by the antivaxxers.

Due to Facebook constantly meddling with their own website, I’ve had to ‘upgrade’ it from the classic old style group to the new style. I was pretty wary about doing this, as I’ve found myself in ‘new’ groups without being asked, before having my inbox bombarded with emails every time someone posts anything in the group. So after upgrading, I did indeed find plenty of emails from the group, but I was very surprised by the quantity! The upgrade has encouraged plenty of people from both camps to leave their comments on the group.

Although I’m happy that more people are getting involved in the group, I’m not sure about a couple of changes. Firstly, the posts are now ordered by the date of the last comment, rather than the date of the original post, so it can look like people’s posts are being deleted as they get quickly pushed down the page. However, far more annoying is the fact that when commenting, hitting enter causes you to post! Other people have reported problems with posting links too, so hopefully Facebook can iron out these bugs before too long. Happy posting people!

The referendum on AV approaches

Here in the UK, we are being given an historic opportunity to vote in a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) this Thursday, May 5th. It will decide how our MPs are elected in future, and the result will determine whether they are elected with AV or if First Past The Post (FPTP) is retained. As I’ve explained in a previous post, I am very much in favour of adopting AV over FPTP, so in this article I’ll try and address a few important issues that I’ve seen.

A really stupid thing to do

Do NOT do this. I repeat, do NOT do this.

First off, I need to address a potential problem from a few people who want the Single Transferable Vote (STV) instead. Personally, I would prefer STV to AV, but this is not a choice on offer. There is a Facebook group recommending that people write in “STV” on their ballot papers. I cannot stress how stupidly naive this action is. Such papers would be regarded as ‘spoiled’ and not counted, which would only serve to decrease the number of ‘Yes’ votes and therefore help to ‘No’ campaign.

Some would make the argument that voting ‘No’ on Thursday will somehow further the cause of STV. It won’t. A ‘No’ result on Thursday will not be interpreted as ‘People voted against AV so they must want STV’, it will be spun as an endorsement of FPTP, which will kill off any thought of future referendums. If we get a ‘Yes’ vote, it will show the politicians that there is appetite for voting reform in the UK, and it could be a stepping stone for further reform in the future.

Second, the nature of the referendum means that the ‘Yes’ camp needs all the votes it can get, whereas the ‘No’ campaign can win just by encouraging people to stay away. So, by doing any of the following, you are inadvertently supporting the ‘No’ cause:

  • Staying at home
  • Spoiling your paper
  • Writing ‘STV’ (or anything else) on your paper (see above)
  • Trying to be funny and putting a ‘1’ instead of a cross on your paper

To get a ‘Yes’ result, we need as many people to vote as possible. It’s very rare that we, the British public, get a chance to vote in a referendum (the last one was to keep EEC membership back in 1975), so make use of the opportunity and vote!

Complaining to the ASA and Trading Standards made easy with FishBarrel from Simon Perry

The Internet is chock-full of quacks advertising their shoddy wares and practices. Since March, the remit of the Advertising Standards Agency has been extended to cover Internet advertising, with group like the Nightingale Collaboration co-coordinating efforts to report false claims in advertising. Now, the genius Simon Perry of the Leicester Skeptics has come up with a tool to make both ASA and Trading Standards complaints much easier. It’s called FishBarrel, and it’s a plugin for Google Chrome (another reason to get Chrome!) which can be downloaded from Simon’s website “Adventure’s in Nonsense“. If you’ve already got Chrome you can install it here. It can automatically fill in complaints forms for you, as well as tell you if a complaint has already been made. Simon gives a full explanation in the tutorial video below.