The News sports writer Steve Wilson tackles topical issues from the world of sport each week in his Sports Mail column.
There were more amateurish attempts to pour cold water on the flames of a scandal last week. Malky Mackay was set to be named as Crystal Palace’s new manager before the storm erupted over alleged text messages that he sent to former director of recruitment Iain Moody, before they were both subsequently sacked by Cardiff City.
The League Managers Association issued a statement dismissing the content of the texts as ‘friendly banter’ – the classic excuse.
Only Mackay and Moody will know the full extent of those messages and whether those that have been published are accurate.
If we were to look through each other’s mobile phones, would we find content that others may potentially find offensive?
I would suggest that we probably would – depending on who looked.
If you were to listen in on some of the conversations that take place in a certain type of environment, you could paint someone in a rather different light to the one they meant at that time.
But, of course, there is a line to be drawn.
What some find amusing, others will find upsetting and will genuinely take offence.
It’s a thorny issue for us all to wrestle with on a daily basis when our deliberately ludicrous opinion offered to raise a laugh can be lost or misunderstood by others, who don’t share the same warped sense of humour.
Can anyone of us really suggest that we haven’t ever said something utterly stupid to a friend or colleague, safe in the knowledge that they knew you were joking and that nobody would take it out of context or make a judgement on your beliefs and values?
Should we think twice about the next time we nick a line from David Brent in The Office, as we sometimes do in a dull moment on the sports desk, in case someone overhears it and thinks it’s our genuine opinion on the world?
Honestly, it make you shudder at the prospect.
It’s probably different for those in the public eye and Mackay should know better.
But his argument will be that they were private messages that were not for public consumption – until his former employers decided to put it out there.
Some will see racist undertones, homophobia and sexism.
Others will wonder what the fuss is about. That’s the diversity of the world we live in.
An attempt to play things down from the LMA blew up in their face.
So much so, that they had to release a second statement apologising for their use of the term ‘friendly banter’.
Sometimes a simple apology is often the best answer but others want more.
Some will think racism is rife and opinions are from another era that need to be changed.
In other walks of life, some people have some strange, hurtful and disrespectful views on others in this world.
Why should we think that football would be any different?
The world of football will never be as politically correct as it should be.
It’s a man’s game after all.
(Sorry about that, ladies. Those are not my real views. It’s just a bit of ‘friendly banter’...)