In an interview with the Edinburgh Evening News this week ex-Hearts striker, Esmael Goncalves, claimed that racial abuse from a minority of the Edinburgh club's support was at the forefront of driving him out of Tynecastle.
My first thought when seeing the story begin to break on social media could best be described as one of resigned frustration. I'm a big boy, and well aware of just how unsavoury some elements of the Hearts support can be.
At no point in time did I try to convince myself that Goncalves was talking rubbish in some twisted effort to save face that his time at Hearts didn't go quite as well as anybody had hoped.
But some Hearts fans did.
I didn't hear/see it" they cried, as if their inability to single out a few voices within a crowd of somewhere between fifteen and eighteen thousand people was somehow irrefutable evidence that low-lifes, such as those who dish out racist and sectarian comments, of a maroon persuasion simply couldn't exist.
Some others decided to accept that such behaviour could exist at Tynecastle and chose another defence route... whataboutery!
"You sung songs about Rudi Skacel being a refugee!", they rabidly throw back towards any Hibs fan that might be slating the behaviour. "You've got a racist playing up front for you!", they scream at Celtic fans.
And on and on and on the whole shitey business goes.
As far as I'm concerned... whataboutery can fuck right off!! Each and every tiny little bit of it!
People who live in glass houses and all that.
- Are some Hearts fans racist? Yes they are.
- Are some Hearts fans sectarian? Yes they are.
Are some Hearts fans homphobes? Yes they are.
- Are some Hearts fans sexist? Yes they are.
By the same token...
- Are some Hearts fans from a different racial background than "white Scottish"? Yes they are.
- Are some Hearts fans Catholic/Jewish/Muslim/Buddhist? Yes they are.
- Are some Hearts fans gay? Yes they are.
- Are some Hearts fans transgender? Yes they are.
You want to know how I know all of those above points are true with one hundred percent iron-clad certainty?
Because Hearts fans are made up of members of our wider society in Scotland (and beyond)... and ALL of those points are true within that wider society.
And it is exactly the same for every other football club, rugby club, ice hockey club.
So, here's an idea...
How about we stop saying "He/She/They did it first/too!" and "Oh no, couldn't possibly be our fans!" and start calling out such behaviour as and when we see/hear it?
Ridding our clubs (and society in general) of such behaviour should surely be the goal here... not not keeping our heads down and murmering that we're not the only ones.
The statement put out by Heart of Midlothian on this matter hit all the right notes. Surely it's about time we all did the same.
You want whataboutery??
What about YOU?!