11 Days Remaining

Wednesday 19th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

If The Sun thought his words on Everton midfielder Barkley were ‘wrong,’ they wouldn’t have allowed them to see the light of day, says KADEEM SIMMONDS

IN CASE people were unaware, there is generally a process between an article being written and being published, be it in print or online.

It is usually read by at least two people before it is released to the public and when it is, it means it has been verified and given the green light.

So I found it extremely bizarre that the Sun would come out and say Kelvin MacKenzie’s disgusting article about Everton’s Ross Barkley was “wrong.”

If they felt that way, why allow it to be published? There is no way I would be able to get such an article past the editor of the Morning Star.

There may be some columns and articles that Ben Chacko doesn’t agree with but if I wrote something which was against what the paper stood for, it wouldn’t be approved or certain sentences would be cut.

MacKenzie, and every other journalist, is entitled to an opinion but there are times when editors need to put a foot down and say No, keep your opinions to yourself. This was one of them.

That these views were published in The Sun wasn’t shocking. Let’s not forget, MacKenzie was the editor when the Hillsborough tragedy took place and the lies told by the paper over the next few decades say everything you need to know about how they view Liverpudlians.

When the newspaper suspended MacKenzie a day after the article appeared (they are yet to sack him) they claimed that “the views expressed by Kelvin MacKenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper.” I find that extremely hard to believe.

This is what MacKenzie was allowed to say: “Perhaps unfairly, I have always judged Ross Barkley as one of our dimmest footballers.

“There is something about the lack of reflection in his eyes which makes me certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home.

“I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo. The physique is magnificent but it’s the eyes that tell the story.

“So it came as no surprise to me that the Everton star copped a nasty right-hander in a nightclub for allegedly eyeing up an attractive young lady who, as they say, was ‘spoken for.’

“The reality is that at £60,000 a week and being both thick and single, he is an attractive catch in the Liverpool area, where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty.”

Barkley, like most footballers in the Premier League, has come under a lot of criticism the past few years.

If MacKenzie felt he was underperforming and explained his point without resorting to racism or ignorant comments on where he is from, people wouldn’t have had a problem with the piece.

But calling him “thick and single” and saying that those characteristics are attractive to people in Liverpool is disgusting and Everton were right to ban the newspaper from attending matches and press conferences, I was surprised they didn’t do it when Liverpool announced the decision in February.

That this article was published a day before the Hillsborough anniversary cannot be a coincidence. The paper would have been aware of the date and I cannot fathom why they felt it would be a good idea to release this vile article to the world.

Same way I find it hard to believe that not one person on The Sun knew that Barkley’s granddad was born in Nigeria.

He has spoken about it in the past, articles dating back to 2013 in national newspapers detail how he could have represented the Super Eagles. So this wasn’t a nationally kept secret.

The reality is that on reportedly £300,000 a year, MacKenzie is a vile, despicable journalist who should never have been given another platform to air his bilious and wrong views and hopefully he will get the sack.

The city of Liverpool’s continued boycott of the paper should be commended and MacKenzie’s comments ensured that the boycott will continue for the foreseeable future.