Darren Bent: an apology

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Even more depressing than the team’s after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-ball type of performance at Wigan was news that Darren Bent ‘s mother was racially abused at the DW stadium. And even more depressing than that, he says a Sunderland supporter was the culprit.

Bent vented his feelings in a message posted to his Twitter page after the game: “So we get beaten by Wigan and to make matters worse my mum gets racially abused by a Sunderland fan. I won’t stand for that.”

He apparently added for good measure that the offender “needs to hope I don’t find out his name or who he is”, and I don’t blame him.

There should be no room for any racist among our following. I remember coming across it as recently as the Peter Reid era but thought – hoped – it had vanished up the BNP’s backside. It reflects woefully on all who support SAFC and the Bent family therefore deserves an apology on behalf of all of us.

Of course, I would insist on the same principles being applied in this case as should be, but are not, in any other. I am thinking, of course, of the fans banned on suspicion of involvement in disorder at Newcastle after the pre-season friendly at Hearts and would expect even a suspected racist to be considered innocent until proved guilty.

But once that has been done, I would support severe punishment by the courts and the club. The “supporter” should be given a hefty fine, banned for life from SAFC games and exposed for what he is with photographs in every North-eastern newspaper. I was going to add “and then handed over to Mr Bent”, but that might be a penalty too far.

Colin Randall

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8 thoughts on “Darren Bent: an apology”

  1. I would also like to apologise to The Bent household, This mindless idiot could really put him off playing for sunderland. The idiot is ridiclious and is not a real sunderland fan. Rasicm should not be tollerated at all specially not sunderland. I think we all need to pray that this does not make him think about leaving sunderland

  2. “a misunderstanding by a southerner failing to understand the accent or humour of someone from the North East”.
    Sorry Nev, I sort of see where you are coming from but I am very proud of my North East upbringing and the inbred sense of humour that comes with it.
    Living in Essex since ’72, I miss the Bish. style banter – but I can’t see how racist comments can possibly be ‘misunderstood’.
    They tend to be pretty clear and if Mrs B was offended, then clearly something wholly inappropriate was said or at best – implied.
    I feel embarrassed and frustrated because I hope I haven’t got a rose tinted view of the typical Sunderland fan/Wearsider who is more likely to take the piss out of himself rather than anyone else. I’ve always seen that as being one of our strengths – the ability not to take ourselves too seriously. Sobs and Sixer are great exponents of this.
    Have we ever gone through a game without a single shot on target? I think I know the answer, but still……..
    Back to the fag end of Match of the Day.

  3. Nev:
    Yes, I’ve already said the guilt has to be proved before action is taken. The club’s record on observing that basic principle of English law is not a good one.

    And at the moment, it is a matter of taking what DB’s mother said at face value, though I don’t doubt her word for a moment.

    But no confusion ofver accents or humour explain the sort of stuff you used to hear and, according to one or two comments at the Blackcats list, still do (example quoted from Spurs away). I remember two SAFC supporting sisters complaining to a steward at Watford when a couple of hopelessly drunk Sunderland fans ket up a tirade of abuse against Watford’s black players throughout the first half, one of them declaring himself supremely contented that we then had an an all-white squad and adding: “And long may it continue.” The steward ignored them and the drunken racists then turned on the girls, insulting them as well. Don’t think that had much to do with anyone not quite getting a joke. OK, that was a while ago but if such people still support SAFC, I’d be happy to see them rooted out forced to do so without ever being allowed inside a ground again.

  4. I’m all for punishing anyone found guilty of racist offences providing it’s after the court case and not before. Far too little is known about this to be calling for lifetime bans etc.

    We can offer our regrets that the lady is upset but shouldn’t yet be offering full apologies. I hope this turns out to be a misunderstanding by a southener failing to understand the accent or humour of someone from the North East…..it wouldn’t be the first time.

    I was in a pub in Covent garden before the Sunderland – Norwich cup final and told a lippy cockney lass, “Your craic really stinks.”
    It didn’t go down too well and neither did I……..

  5. Unfortunately there are too many people in society, many of whom go to football, who still see nothing wrong in racist comments, even when they profess not to be racist. And of course there are those who take a pride in their racist attitudes.
    I got really depressed following a visit to RTG message board and opening a thread titled “Racist Bloke in North Stand.” Someone was asking what he/she could do about a season ticket holder who constantly shouted racist abuse at Kenwynne Jones. Whilst there were some messages of support, I was appalled by the number of comments supporting his “right” (their words not mine) to shout whatever he wanted. The words “grass” and not so veiled threats as to what should happen to the complainant left nothing to the imagination. Thankfully I still think these people are in the minority, but it is usually the bigoted minority who shout loudest and are quick to use violence to silence protests. Let’s hope the club take a hard line on racism in all its forms when proven.

    I’m sure Darren and his mum will receive lots of messages of support – add mine to the list.

  6. I’d like add my apologies Mrs Bent on behalf of all Sunderland supporters. No-one should have to put up with personal – or in fact any – racist abuse at a match. I hope it doesn’t put her off coming again and I hope she can meet some supporters who can give her the type of welcome we’re proud of.

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