Sunday 25 February 2018

Vincent Hogan: Only peer pressure will end racial abuse

Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

IT will take more than a motion to next year's Congress to properly tackle the minority of Neanderthals drawn to racial abuse in the GAA.

The Association's president, Liam O'Neill, admirably declared a determination this week to have it "cut out totally" on his watch. Trouble is, it's not in Liam's gift to do so.

A rule outlawing abuse brings to mind that 'Father Ted' sketch of the two priests protesting against a racy movie outside the cinema, their placards declaring 'Down with this sort of thing!'

After all, it scarcely requires a formal framework to identify abuse, of any sort, as a breach of acceptable behaviour.

A new rule is unlikely to rein in those who reputedly bellowed caveman obscenities at Aaron Cunningham last Sunday. Only peer pressure can do that.

Be it players or supporters, a culture of zero tolerance (with team-mates or fellow supporters) is required when in the vicinity of racial abuse. On the field or on the terrace, silence is compliance.

Until that penny drops, the GAA's best intentions won't amount to a hill of beans.

Irish Independent

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