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!

9 Comments

  1. Well done Norwich City for stamping on this so rapidly. A great account of it all here; very thorough. Such a shame Mark Bright had to make matters worse. How he remains in the employment of the BBC is beyond me. First Tanvir Cohen, now City.

  2. Brian

    QPR fan in peace.

    Given that, last I checked, O’Donoghue is most firmly an Irish surname, the offender clearly hasn’t thought that one through. Prize idiot, alas.

    As for Mark Bright, well, he’s just a twit. How on Earth the man managed to find employment with the BBC is mind-boggling. Then again, Manish and Steve Claridge are also there.

    Best of luck next season.

  3. Firstly, congrats on your first post. A good account of the bizarre goings on. Don’t forget his other tweet “If you like foreigners and blacks so much, then go and support Arsenal”. A sadly ignorant fan.

    The Mark Bright self involvement is more perplexing, I’m not sure why he’s gone to these odd lengths to distance himself from the fans which are pretty universally known as good natured. Let’s hope we can put this all behind us, and prove him wrong next season.

    • Tom

      Thanks for all the positive comments everyone. It’s great to see that everyone so far is in favour of the banning (I’ve yet to meet anyone who has come out against it). I forgot about the Arsenal comment (he’s said that more than once too) I might put that up as well.

      I should make something clear though, this is my first post on this blog about NCFC (apart from a little gloating over a derby win), I’ve been blogging about skepticism and science stuff for several months now.

  4. Colky

    Good account of the strange events. I was a little confused about the whole Mark Bright/Norwich Fans situation. I knew there had been a racist NCFC ‘fan’ but i hadn’t seen the tweets. Glad to see it’s been put to bed but very annoyed that someone on the BBC payrole would do something so childish and stupid as to assume that all NCFC fans are the same as one misinformed, silly racist.

    Despite it being an unpleasant subject, very impressed with the writting, keep up the good work man.

  5. I’m a Chelsea fan, but also a regular on wrathofthebarclay as well now. I saw all of this unfold with absolute incredulity. I’m glad the fans from there (and yourself) took the time to mail McNally and also that the club have acted swiftly.

    Bright, we were discussing it yesterday on there, wondering what had gone on with him – ridiculous that it’s just because of this, though, no problem with him addressing the situation – but, as you say, building it up into a crescendo and making half arsed snidey comments isn’t the way forwards.

    Good luck for next season

  6. Edd

    Top post: needed saying. I hope that his final apology means he can learn from this and maybe start to change views that are clearly ingrained in him. Remember that a lot of people vulnerable people are guided into abhorrent views like these by more influential actors (see the BNP and some of the Daily Star’s work!). Hopefully this is what happened to him and hopefully over the last few days he has seen his views are wrong and unacceptable in the modern age. As for Mark Bright, there is a touch of the Robbie Savages in him. It is probably better we don’t let him get our nickers in a twist and just let the issue drop. We are a great club whatever he thinks and we know that. Fans of other clubs know that too (look at some of the nice posts and tweets from Ipswich and Sunderland fans on this issue towards NCFC fans for what they have done here). Great work to the club for banning the offender so quickly, but actually most credit belongs to yourself and people like Holtmania and whoever posted on WOTB for firstly bringing the offender to task and secondly notifying the club. Thank you. Great great work.

  7. Raincitygirl

    Good on you for notifying the club, and good on them for taking swift and decisive action.

    Oh, and welcome to the Premier League, Canaries!

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