Are Sky Complicit in Sectarianism?

Recently the ugly side of Scottish football has reared its head once again. In the recent Rangers v Kilmarnock match, the Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was subjected to being called a “fenian b*******” by a moronic section of the Rangers fans. This chanting took the shine off the impressive 5-0 victory of Steven Gerrards men on the night. However, in the days to follow, football was not the main topic of discussion. Sky Sports ran with one of their top footballing presenters and Scotsman, Jim Whyte leading the discussion on this issue that blights the game. Alongside him was their go to commentator for Scottish football and former Celtic player Andy Walker. As both men discussed how to tackle the issue, they discussed the liability of the club, the role of the supporters and what the governing body can do. A frank and open discussion that needs to be had. However, what was briefly glanced over was Andy Walkers true feelings.

He can discuss the tribalism of the supporters and the need for them to control this during a match but is blinkered to his own sectarianism. A week earlier in the Celtic v Kilmarnock game, Kilmarnock striker, captain and former Rangers player, Kris Boyd was subjected to chants of “dirty Orange B******” from the Celtic fans. Walkers co-commentator Davie Provan comments about Boyd “He’s heard it all before”. Before Walker quips “He loves it doesn’t he”. No Andy, he doesn’t. Why somebody in such a privileged position as a Sky football commentator can make light of such abuse before being wheeled out four days later to comment on it is incredulous. Despite a few complaints to Sky, they merely commented that he had his headphones turned down and didn’t hear it. Then why comment on it? When you have the same man asking clubs to control and take responsibility for their fans, is it so far-fetched that he would expect his employers to do the same? Sectarian abuse by the supporters of a club he used to play for is treated as “banter”. Unbelievably, it appears that Walker thinks that sectarian abuse is something to be enjoyed by players! He actively promotes this type of abuse as something to do to certain players. To the uneducated fan, this the seal of approval from the voice of Scottish football for Sky television.

It seems Walker has been caught up in the tribal nature that all of football abhors. Sky had an opportunity to make a stand and show that this is unacceptable. Despite video evidence, they have done nothing. They have on their hands a commentator who comments on things while not exactly sure of what’s going on or one that considers sectarian abuse as acceptable in Scottish football. Either way, this is not somebody that should be considered for a professional commentary position. Sky’s stance is obvious as well. Either Scottish football is not worthy of a competent commentator or they too accept that Sectarianism is acceptable. As John Stuart Mill said “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”