Since I let the cat out of the bag in my last post1 and readers know I don’t hate fans of other clubs I may as well elaborate a little.
I find it easy to classify comments as acceptable or unacceptable and do it instinctively. For example, when someone tweeted “i hope your dad had a painful death” to Robbie Savage2 I thought that was unacceptable even though Robbie himself was a wind-up merchant3.
It is not so easy to define what it is about a comment or attitude that makes it unacceptable to me. And it’s even harder to explain it to someone who considers it weird not to hate rival fans. After some reflection on the matter I’ve decided that a comment is unacceptable when it indicates that the recipient of the insult is in some way not fully human. The line between acceptable and unacceptable is crossed when someone fails to see other individuals or groups as fellow human beings subject to the same feelings as the rest of us.
I believe that every member of the human race is capable of feeling the same distress that I would feel if subjected to insults or cruel treatment. For example, I believe that footballers have feelings however much they get paid. Sensitivity to insults depends on personality not pay packet. Some players, like Robbie Savage, thrive on abuse but others don’t. Ricky Otto was one that didn’t thrive and I think Birmingham City fans destroyed his confidence; the crowd told him he was rubbish and he believed them. Fortunately my self confidence is not so fragile; feel free to let me know if you don’t agree with what I write.