Whatever You Do, Don’t Mention The…Fascist
In an interesting/strange move, Northumbria Police have released a statement aimed at Newcastle fans, warning of the consequences of pointing out that Sunderland’s manager is a self-declared fascist.
Whether there was any intention of some fans making any kind of mocking gestures, I would dare say that after the police released the following statement, it is now nailed on;
“Offensive gestures, particularly those with a suggestion of racist connotations, are completely unacceptable and we well take positive action against anyone seen acting in an offensive or racist manner.
While some individuals may see this sort of behaviour as a means of poking fun at opposing fans, it is not a joke.
Offensive behaviour can constitute a criminal offence and such behaviour is taken seriously.
Football matches are routinely monitored by CCTV and even if action is not taken during the match, it can be checked retrospectively…which can lead to a criminal record.
I would urge fans to act responsibly and reflect upon the impact any form of disorder or offensive behaviour has on others, themselves, the reputation of both clubs and the north east.”
With a global TV audience I’ve no doubt that the fact it is going out live will mean that the authorities don’t want to see such images going out to the audience.
As for those people actually in St.James’ Park, I think it would be very difficult to try and prove anybody inside the ground would be genuinely offended by any mocking fascist salutes. Those inside the stadium will undoubtedly know the background to any mocking gestures and are a little unlikely to believe that a new branch of the Hitler Youth has been formed at St.James’ Park.
Offensive behaviour is surely all about what context it happens in and fascist salutes at a political rally would surely be seen in a different light to taking the mick out of an opposing manager.
I think on this occasion the police are using a sledgehammer to crack a very small nut and interestingly, in light of this police initiative, you may be interested in this definition of fascist behaviour – ‘A tendency towards strong autocratic or dictatorial control’.
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