Prejudice & Political Correctness in Football: The Malky Mackay Situation

Three months after Vincent Tan leaked an incriminating dossier in order to veto Crystal Palace’s impending acquisition of Malky Mackay, Wigan have signed the latter as their new head coach.

Some have expressed outrage at Wigan chairman Dave Whelan’s decision. The truth is whilst Mackay expressed prejudiced thoughts, he did not allow his beliefs to intervene with the management of his players. It is unknown how openly Mackay exercised his sexist beliefs against the female staff and how it affected those concerned. However, Kim Bo-Kyung’s agent stated that Mackay always served the correct treatment towards his player and “always showed warmth”.

It seems many need to remember that whilst prejudiced beliefs are ugly and undesirable, prejudice is something that only becomes truly problematic when practised in the treatment of others.

The truth is Mackay is the product of an extremely backwards and tribal culture that accompanies British football; one that plays by its own rules and remains exempt from the real world. To believe Mackay is alone in his thoughts in his profession is ridiculous; if all managers and coaches were blacklisted for their language used in their working and private lives, very few would remain employed.

Although this maybe digressing, these prejudiced attitudes expressed by Mackay and his former colleague Iain Moody appear to enmesh predominantly white football chairmen. Whilst no black managerial candidate can carry evidence of being rejected upon discriminatory grounds, a Talksport interview from September this year with Paul Mortimer indicates a prejudiced refusal from such chairmen to hire them. Mortimer voiced his dismayed of sending applications to Football League clubs in the number of double digits, but yet all refused in spite of evidence of his greater coaching experience than some of the white candidates he was vying against.

Whilst the evidence provided against Mackay proves of a deplorable nature behind his character, his former chairman Tan deserves no praise whatsoever for his actions. A vendetta was clearly drawn between the pair early in Mackay’s managerial reign at Cardiff; if Tan was determined to end prejudice in football, he would have reported such behaviour much sooner. What may now lead to an epidemic in modern football is “Leaking”: evidence of unsavoury attitudes or actions by not just chairmen, but also players, coaches, board members and administrators when others clash with them.

In a sport known for its barbaric and old-fashioned views, the sinister use of electronic media to scapegoat individuals in the name of political correctness (i.e. campaigns such as “Kick-it-out”) may see individuals vilified heavily for expression of thoughts that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in yesteryears.


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