Thursday, 25 November 2010

A hollow apology

Just wanted to reflect on the apology statement made by Vlatko Markovic, the president of the Croatian football association.

The misguided figurehead caused enormous controversy when he told a newspaper that he would "certainly" not permit a gay player on the Croatian national team.

But, after facing the wrath of LGBT groups including the Justin Campaign, a few days later Markovic apologised for the comments.

His statement on the association's website said: "It was not my intention whatsoever to insult or hurt anyone. I have nothing against members of any minority, least of all against those of same-sex orientation.
"Once again, I apologize to all those who were hurt."

While it must be welcomed that an apology has been made, it must be asked if Markovic really means what is attributed to him.

Do people's view really change at the click of the fingers?

On the surface this appears to be a manufactured view which was initiated not by the official but by backroom staff in a public affairs exercise.

If he had really meant it, then surely a more public apology would have been made.

Whatever happened behind the scenes we must hope that actually the Croatian FA, and other footballing authorities, have learned from this ugly episode and, instead of its officials spouting bigoted soundbites, work will be done to promote the sport to all members of society.

Ultimately, this would mean more to fans and players than a well-thought out public affairs exercise.

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