Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Ticked-Off Father's Response to Joey Barton (or: QPR Premiere League Football "Captain" Goes Too Far)

My husband, Steve, called me at work yesterday to tell me about a bit of R-word controversy in the world of English Premiere League Football.  Two days ago, Joey Barton, the much-disliked, already-controversial captain of the team, Queens Park Rangers, tweeted, "Just LOL-ed at TOWIE retards picture, good banter from the producers there. Look at all the Lemmings, happily posing.........." in reference to a photo of a group of people from a D-lister reality program making mocking gestures towards him. 

First, let me just say, after checking out this guy's tweets in general, I can see he's a real jerk to begin with (I admit it, I originally said pig, but thought that might be offensive to pigs, and definitely did not think that pigs, in general, were jerks, and so I retract that comment lest I fall prey to doing the same thing others do so mindlessly and hurtfully - the very subject of this very post).  Every single thing that this guy writes is offensive, obnoxious and painful to read.  It's pretty obvious that this isn't the first time he's used the R-word, and probably not even the most offensive way in which he's used it (what are you willing to bet he's used it to directly refer to people with intellectual disabilities?).  It's also pretty obvious he's a miserable person, and probably extremely unhappy to boot.

Sometimes Steve and I can let crap like this roll off of us.


This guy's a public figure, one that people should be able to look up to, as the captain of his team.  He's got loads of followers, and things he says have a way of making their way to the newspaper.

As did this particular tweet. 

The English newspaper, The Sun, posted this article about the offense, stating that disability groups have made their displeasure known. 

Steve, additionally, has made his displeasure known by e-mailing the following response to the Club team, as well as to a few specific people within the team including their PR person and their Liason for Supporters with Disabilities (cool, huh?  Did you know that every Premiere League team has one of those?  I bet that phone is ringing off the hook right now...).

Yay, Steve!!

Good Morning,

Normally I would not give a second thought about the antics of Pro Footballers but what your "Club Captain", Joey Barton "Tweeted" recently is just too much. Mr Barton is Club Captain and with such a role, he should be more aware of what impact his comments have on the general public. His "Tweeted" comment of "Just LOL-ed at TOWIE retards picture." is disgusting and offensive to members of the public who live with various Intellectual Disabilities.

Mr Barton is in a position where he should be representing QPR as a "Family" Football club that values all of it's supporters. There is a move to drive out racism in football, well how about driving out all prejudice irrespective of race, creed, color, sexual orientation and yes.... DISABILITY.

I am the parent of a beautiful, smart, fun loving football fan who happens to have Down syndrome. She deserves to have respect and not have words slung around that can hurt and perpetuate discriminatory attitudes towards disabled people. I have no doubt Mr Barton was not refering to people with Down syndrome when referring to the people in the picture, but it is an insensitive and childish comment to make. He certainly has the right to voice his opinions but to do it with responsibility.

Football is a global sport and players have to understand that they are no longer private members of the public. They have an influence on millions of people. Along with big salaries come big responsibilities. I do hope Mr Barton makes a sincere apology and realises he has a forum to help not hurt people.


Steve Bates

Oh, and not an hour after he sent that e-mail he got a response thanking him for the message and stating that it would be sent down immediately to the training ground and to Mr. Barton directly.  A surprising response, and a good one.  Not sure what that means, or how they're presenting it, although I suspect they'll be rubbing his nose in it in some fashion.  We're not idiots, though, skipping through life thinking that when someone apologizes they mean it.  Joey Barton has this crap ingrained into his very being.  If he does come out with a statement of apology, we have no illusions about the nature of the apology and how it was probably garnered under duress.  But public is public, and we should be thankful for that (mind you, this apology has not yet come), and some people are just sick and miserable, and I guess I can maybe find some little fiber inside of me that actually feels sorry for him and his pathetic self. 

I'd love for sports clubs to have mandatory community service requirements for these kinds of things.  Being told they're wrong isn't enough to change some people's minds, but showing them the consequence, showing them the people they are hurting, showing them how others are more alike than different...that may be just the thing to help change minds.

Here's a random baby photo of Samantha.  I was always too scared to lie with her on the couch, afraid I'd fall asleep and she'd roll off, so these moments were reserved for daddy alone.  :-)


The Annessa Family said...

Way to go hubby!!!


Angel said...

Love when Dads defend their kiddos. Nice work!

Lisa said...

awesome dad!!! You are right he may apologize and not mean it but I bet he will think twice the next time he uses the word. Sometimes that is a victory in itself.

Rochelle said...

YAHOO for Steve! Hmm going to have to quiz Jason on whether he heard this or not...

The Holt's said...

Great post! I love the baby pictures you have posted lately.

krlr said...

Maybe it's just late & I'm tired but these situations just WEAR on me. People suck. Except for your husband, of course - excellent ltr! Am off to bed & will rally tomorrow.

teal915 said...

Good job!

Team Lando said...

Great letter, Steve!