Honestly, I am not saying this just because he writes to me after every match, and sometimes between games, but Steve Bruce has every right to be furious with The Sun for its ridiculous treatment of Marcos Angeleri’s ‘ee no like me because I no Eeenglish quotes.
He, or the club on his behalf, has banned the paper from press conferences and the press box at the Stadium of Light. Bruce is considering suing for libel, or so I learn from the Sunderland Echo.
Again, all within his/their rights.
Quick recap: Angeleri, miffed at not figuring much in the team, apparently told a South American radio station: “The boss doesn’t talk to me, he doesn’t even say hello to me when he sees me. I think he doesn’t like me because I’m not English.”
The interview was picked up in the UK and the quotes appeared in The Sun under the headline “Bruce in New Race Row”, the story recalling comments made by Gerard Houllier during the controversy surrounding Darren Bent’s transfer.
There is no need to quote Bruce’s protestations that his record shows him not to have racist bone in his body. I never thought otherwise for a second, and I doubt anyone else, with the possible but unlikely exception of a few Sun readers, did either.
When Salut! Sunderland reported on this matter – our headline was Steve Bruce, racism and journalism for the hard-of-thinking – I wtote this:
… in attempting to suggest the behaviour of a serial offender – “another race storm” – and, indeed, to say there is the least hint of racism in the first place, every media outlet that has reported the non-story in such terms has succeeded only in making itself look very foolish.
So sue away, Steve. Ban the Sun for life, SAFC. Or maybe not …
I am sure Murdoch’s finest were not alone in reporting the non-story with a similar headline. If that is the case, Steve and the club may have to be consistent and have a go at them too. There are lawyers who spend a lot of time trawling for libel potential; its a lucrative business.
But I do not wish to see the manager of Sunderland AFC bogged down with legal consultations, court cases and the rest, especially if it turns out I am right and there are multiple possible defendants.
Bruce is justifiably hurt but his reputation has probably not, in reality, suffered one iota. And he is unlikely to need the tax-free windfall a successful defamation action brings.
Let him leave it to SAFC legal folk to squeeze what they can out of Murdoch – £5,000, maybe £10,000, plus a grovelling printed apology – and repeat the process with anyone else who turned a few crass quotes from a disgruntled, underachieving player into a bogus “race row”.
And give the proceeds to an appropriate cause. Maybe a movement supported by Steve Bruce, SAFC and Salut! Sunderland, Kick Racism Out of Football – these days Kick it Out – could do with a bob or two.