The ongoing soap opera that is Crystal Palace Football Club this season took yet another unusual twist yesterday with the clubs Sporting Director Ian Moody forced to resign after revelations about inappropriate communications he made during his time at Cardiff. It’s alleged that Moody sent several hundred text messages and emails to then manager Malky Mackay of a racist, sexist and homophobic nature. In documents submitted to Football Association by Cardiff City Football Club in conjunction with London law firm Mishcon De Reya, Moody is seen to make racial comments about a potential new player from South Korea, sexist remarks about a female agent and anti-semitic jibes about a Jewish agent. In some of the cases Mackay retorted with similar types of comments although the volume compared to Moody’s was considerably lower.
A few of the comments and texts have been published in the UK press and emphasize the seriousness of the situation. Moody sent the following texts and emails to a variety of people connected to Cardiff City Football Club including the manager at the time MacKay and others outside of the club.
‘Fkn chinkys. Fk it. There’s enough dogs in Cardiff for us all to go around.’
- Text sent to Mackay about the arrival of South Korean international Kim Bo-Kyung
‘Go on, fat Phil. Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers’
- Text sent to football agent Phil Smith
‘He’s a snake, a gay snake. Not to be trusted’
- On a official of another club
‘Not many white faces amongst that lot but worth considering.’
- To Mackay about a list of potential signings
‘I hope she’s looking after your needs. I bet you’d love a bounce on her falsies.’
- To a player connected to female agent Carly Barnes
Mackay has since apologized for his part in the text exchange but his reputation lies in tatters with few likely to hire him in any capacity anytime soon. He has tried to play down the exchanges between himself and Moody as friendly text banter but the contents of the texts uncovered by investigators were serious enough for Crystal Palace to perform a dramatic u turn in hiring the Scot as their next manager. Their search goes on as the club tries to distance itself from Moody and Mackay as quickly as possible. Whilst banter happens between friends, not only in football but in life in general, there is a difference between harmless banter and inappropriate behaviour. Racial, homophobic and sexist slurs towards others regardless of the profession is unacceptable in the workplace and whilst some will argue that others in the game are guilty of the same, it is Moody and Mackay that must face up to the media scrutiny as the true nature of their exchanges has been revealed.
Yesterday the League Managers Association (LMA) surprisingly backed MacKay and reinforced his story of friendly banter, much to the annoyance of leading figures of the anti discrimination body Kick It Out and for the campaign Show Racism the Red Card. Former Reading striker Jason Roberts called the statement from the LMA “ill advised” and was shocked by their wording whilst another former player Leroy Rosenior felt disillusioned by the statement saying that in defending Mackay, the LMA is insulting its other members like Rosenior himself. Both former players have been strong advocates for change, often speaking up against injustices in the game when players, managers and owners overstep the mark. This morning, the LMA retracted its support and apologized for its comments but by then the damage had been done with Roberts among many calling for LMA chief Richard Bevan to resign. Racism, sexism and homophobia still plague the modern game and whilst steps forward have been taken, there are elements of old school mentality living within its walls. Removing this element from English football entirely will take commitment from organization like the FA and the LMA with a zero tolerance for issues such as this, but to date this has not been seen from either party. As for MacKay, a return to football management is unlikely at least in the short term whist his counterpart Ian Moody’s career in football is most likely over for good.