July 16, 2012
Yesterday Emmanuel Frimpong dug himself into some trouble on his Twitter page. After posting a fairly innocuous tweet which read: ‘if you going church today Pray For me Giving today A Miss’ he received a nasty and unnecessary response from a Spurs fan which read: ‘I prayed you break your arms and legs’.
Not very pleasant I’m sure we’d all agree. A disgusting thing to wish on anyone, let alone a player whose career could well be in the balance as he recovers from another serious injury. Unfortunately Frimpong rose to the bait and chose to retweet the message along with a response of his own reading simply ‘@ Yid Scum’.
It always surprises me when I have to explain this but for the avoidance of any confusion I’ll do it anyway. The term ‘Yid’ is an extremely offensive racial epithet used to describe Jewish people. For the sake of reference I’d say it’s up there with the ‘N’ word. For decades it’s also been used by certain idiots to denigrate Spurs fans due to their relatively wide level of Jewish support (which by the way is in actual fact no wider than it is at Arsenal).
As a response to this, in more recent years, certain sections of the Spurs fanbase have attempted to ‘reclaim’ the word, referring to themselves as the ‘Yid Army’. I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of this particular move as we’d be here all day and frankly it’s not relevant to this discussion. The fact is that Emmanuel Frimpong should not be using the term ‘Yid’ to describe anyone.
I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Thanks to the ‘reclamation’ of the word by Spurs fans a lot of people are unaware of its provenance and no doubt just assume it to be a funny football nickname. Maybe that’s the case with Frimpong. But he removed the tweet from his site pretty sharpish yesterday so I can only assume that if he didn’t already know, he does now.
But removing the tweet is not enough I’m afraid. Frimpong needs to come out and make an apology. Even if it’s along the lines of ‘I didn’t realise what the word meant, I should never have used it’. The man is an Arsenal player, he’s a representative of the club and it’s just not acceptable for a representative of Arsenal to be throwing racial insults .
We wouldn’t accept language like that if it came out of the mouth of John Terry so you better be sure we shouldn’t accept it when it comes from one of our own. Frimpong is popular with Arsenal fans and for good reason. His exuberance and spirit both on and off the pitch is something we haven’t seen a lot of amongst the squad in recent years. It’s exciting to see a bit of passion and at times it maybe even blinds fans to other weaknesses in his game. We shouldn’t let it blind us to mistakes off the pitch too.
The club need to be on top of this. There have been a number of more minor transgressions by our players on Twitter in the last couple of years and the club appear prepared to let them go. They don’t seem entirely on top of the PR opportunities and pitfalls of the social media age. But they need to sharpen up. Arsenal are a club built on foundations of proper behaviour and moral leadership. There’s a reason why we talk about the importance of doing things ‘the Arsenal way’. We can’t allow that reputation built over so many years to be sullied by a lack of understanding of the power of Twitter.
If he’s not already planning an apology off his own back I expect the club to give him a little shove today. If they provide that shove and an apology is still not forthcoming then I hate to say it but I think we have a responsibility to let the player go. It’s that serious and it’s that simple.
I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope that Emmanuel Frimpong realises that he reacted in an unprofessional way to an idiot fan and used a word that he didn’t entirely understand the meaning of. And I hope that he does the grown up thing and apologises for what I’m sure was just a mistake.
And then we can all get on with the business of supporting his undoubted talent and exuberance.
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