FORMER Derby County midfielder and popular radio pundit Craig Ramage has been sacked from his job and ravaged by politically correct Radio Derby, the Professional Footballers’ Association, Kick It Out and the Derby Evening Telegraph.
Why? Because he expressed a genuine opinion about the attitudes of some of the Championship club’s players after Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 home draw with Huddersfield Town.
And the players he was referring to were the ‘young black lads’.
Here is Ramage’s full comment: “When I look over and I look at certain players, their body language, their stance, the way they act, you just feel, ‘whoa, hold on a minute – he needs pulling down a peg or two’. So I’d probably say that about all the young black lads.”
The outraged response of Rams players, led on social media by left back Max Lowe, resulted in 49-year-old Ramage, who has earned a good reputation for his honest and fair-minded views during seven years of summarising the club’s games on Radio Derby, being instantly dismissed by the station – and then subjected to one-eyed abuse from all and sundry.
This is my question. Did Ramage single out Derby’s black players because he sought to discriminate against them on account of their skin colour?
That barely merits an answer!
Instead he was merely making the point that the players who on this occasion were displaying a poor attitude were black. He could and probably should have named them one by one; instead he identified them in much the way as if he’d said they were ‘foreign’ or ‘defenders’ or whatever.
Ramage’s unreserved apology, which of course has been ignored by his detractors, makes this clear: “Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing.” He was discussing poor attitudes, folks, not the colour of their skin!
Yes, Craig, some of us can see that – but many are blinded by political correctness.
I watch and indeed report on a lot of football – and I listen to a fair few radio stations.
I enjoyed listening to Craig because, to pinch a modern phrase, he ‘tells it as it is’. Rather than sticking to platitudes and saying how ‘unlucky Derby are’ when they don’t win, he lets the listeners know what he really thinks – and some of that tended to go over the top because as a former player he actually cares about Derby!
The saddest point of all in this story is the herd mentality of all those who have stuck the knife in.
Derby players reportedly stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in their support of those who were singled out. After all, it’s dangerous for anyone to argue with a ‘racism’ case.
The PFA condemn Ramage and applaud the players for speaking out, Kick It Out spout their usual biased views and the newspaper turns a news story into an opinion column as if they are always whiter than white – please don’t forgive the pun!
And so even apologising for an offence he didn’t intentionally commit counts for nothing even after seven years of good work.
I’ve got no doubt that the players singled out by Ramage will be heartily backed by Derby fans at their next game. There’ll then pick up their huge wage packets irrespective of whether they raise their standards or go through the motions.
And Craig Ramage, who really cares about his club, will no longer be able to do his job.