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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Wednesday, May 5

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stereotypes in football commentary

Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Hi, all!

Icelandic club Ungmennafélag Grindavíkur came out with a volcano-themed kit, and while I don’t love it, I have to reward a team for originality.

Ramble of the Day

In case you missed it, Jim Beglin was the commentator for an English language broadcast of Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain yesterday. He naturally had to call Ángel Di María’s red card, but felt the need to describe it as the result of his “Latino temperament,” very obviously using a racist stereotype. He apologized a few minutes later on the broadcast, and then took to Twitter later for another apology.

Beglin was right to acknowledge that words have meaning, and there are consequences to choosing the wrong ones. The optimistic view from me is that I hope he learns, and I hope at some point he shares his learning. I find that there’s a certain responsibility he carries as a relatively well-known and influential person, and it cannot hurt to share what he learned once he’s ready to do so.

That said, I was beyond disappointed to hear him say it. In the last year, people in all industries have seemingly had necessary and meaningful discussions of race and discrimination. Over the course of that time, people in the football world have discussed the role commentary can play in perpetuating stereotypes. The conversations have been nuanced, and more importantly, high-profile from time to time. Yet, it feels like the world of commentary has only changed to a certain degree. I’m glad Beglin admitted he has work to do, but after almost a year of discussing race in a more open manner, why didn’t he do the work earlier? Why did he not realize some education was necessary before he made such a blatant blunder in front of a massive audience?

Beglin is hardly the only person in the business still guilty of stereotyping players, and it makes me feel like the industry as a whole is behind the curve. I imagine there are some that have either reflected on their work and updated, or those who have shared their long-standing practices and knowledge. It still feels like there’s a group larger than I’d like that has avoided important conversation that, at the end of the day, is necessary to their work. (After all, it’s probably necessary to everyone’s work.) Why do they feel this global conversation didn’t apply to them?

Links of the Day

Former Ireland international Alan McLoughlin died aged 54 after a battle with cancer.

The FA charged QPR’s Todd Kane for using discriminatory language during a match against Brentford in February.

Chelsea supporters will have representation at the club’s board meetings from July 1.

Greater Manchester Police arrested a man following Sunday’s protest at Old Trafford, though the police did not reveal what he was arrested on suspicion of.

NWSL will not discipline anyone after friends of the Chicago Red Stars’ Sarah Gorden were allegedly racially profiled by a security guard.

Real Madrid’s Marcelo is available for the team’s Champions League match at Chelsea after was freed from his duties as a poll worker for Madrid’s local elections.

A longer read: Louisa Thomas on the rapid transformation of NWSL’s NJ/NY Gotham FC from the US’ most unprofessional club to becoming a finalist in this year’s Challenge Cup for The New Yorker