An eye for an eye would make the whole world blind and this is exactly how the problems between Celtic and Rangers have escalated to this dangerous point. In the light of Leigh Griffiths’ break from football, due to mental health issues, there has been some revolting messages regarding him on social media. When these bullies are challenged they reply with, “Well Celtic fans did this…”. That is completely missing the point; two wrongs can never make a right and instead perpetuate the issue. I believe Scotland has very little problems with racism, homophobia and sexism, however there is something about the green and blue tops that bring out an animalistic rage in some Glasgow football supporters. And those few extremist supporters give the rest a bad name.
Had Leigh Griffiths been a Rangers player he would’ve received the same support and encouragement Celtic fans have displayed from the Rangers fans. Whilst he would’ve received similar abuse from the Celtic fans. And had this man been a St Mirren player, he would’ve got no abuse! So what is about the colour of a strip that drives people into a vile rage?
What sickened me was seeing a mum of a young child rejoicing in the despair of Griffiths. I am not a parent, but I think it seems quite obvious that the aim of the game is to raise an independent, respectful and happy child. Filling your children with hate is disgusting; teaching an impressionable kid such horrible ways of thinking will be extremely detrimental to their development. And if you, personally, enjoy seeing someone suffer – no matter what team they support – you are a sadist. Getting satisfaction from someone’s pain is just bizarre; it’s real, life-altering pain that someone is experiencing.
Griffiths is a celebrity but he’s also a person, who is fighting through a terrible illness that many people can relate to. Having a huge following on social media, or having your name written across the newspaper most weekends doesn’t make you any less human and people forget that. Could you imagine how you would feel if hundreds of people posted that they were “buzzing” to hear about how you are hurting? That would be deeply distressing and to add that on top of depression is just evil.
Bringing your children up to hate people based on what football team they support is frankly unbelievable – surely if a mother was raising her children to hate a race then the children would be taken away? This hate has been bred into families, generation after generation and it needs to stop. You can break free from the brainwashing you have received all of your life, if you make a conscious decision to question why you hate the rival team. Why do you hate them? Strip back all the reasons of what each opposing team has “done” and realise you hate them because your dad told you to, and hating them made him happy. Despising something is a common interest and brings people together, there is no doubt about that. However, when something to bond over causes fights, bullying and stabbings it is clear to see that it has went too far.
To conclude, remember no matter creed or colour of strip, everyone is human and you shouldn’t treat them as less than that. And if your automatic reaction to hearing that someone is in pain is elation, then I recommend you evaluate yourself and seek help. That is not normal. Remember football is a game and there are sports rivalries all over the world that don’t become so “impassioned” that it causes violence. There is no reason for you to hate the man across the road because he likes Rangers – you might both love Andy Murray. Being a fan of some club does not define who a person is, so don’t hear what team they support and make a snap judgement of them. Could you imagine being willing to kill someone because of a difference in opinion; it seems so trivial when described as such?! When there are murderers and rapists walking the streets, don’t channel your anger into hating some innocent football fan.
WE ARE ALL ONE
*** I wish Leigh Griffiths all the best; battling depression in the public eye must be a horrendous ordeal and I hope he has a smooth recovery. Last year, I developed severe depression and it rendered me unable to walk, eat or concentrate. Taking time out for his health is the best decision, as mental health is just as real as physical health. When I was depressed, I became dangerously underweight due to lack of appetite and I moved so slowly; making his decision also beneficial for his career as he wouldn’t be able to perform at his best.