It might not be a current Rangers player, but Kyle Lafferty’s 10-match ban for sectarian language against a Celtic fan matches the ban Ondřej Kúdela received for his allegedly racist comment against Glen Kamara 18 months ago.
See, we cannot in any way criticise the ban on Lafferty given we wanted the Czech international to receive worse for something we couldn’t even prove he’d done, and Lafferty of course did it on film, under the lights, completely audibly and caught red handed.
The difference? Lafferty did it away from the football pitch in a nightclub likely having had one too many, while the Praha defender did it on a football pitch in front of the watching public.
Ibrox Noise was once sent a video by long-time regular Keith Moore who posed with an unsuspecting Chris Sutton, before barking ‘WATP’ at him. The former Celtic striker, knowing he was on camera, walked away and that was that.
Lafferty, stupidly, got caught on film, well aware of being recorded.
We can’t defend him, but what we can do is wonder why other cases of sectarianism don’t get the same profile, particularly when they’re perpetrated by Celtic people or former Celtic people. Let’s not pretend the green and whites are angels, they are far from it, and there have been plenty examples of this – not least Leigh Griffiths and his chants caught on camera, not to mention either the pro-IRA chanting from Martin Compston (who of course denied intention).
Why do these not quite get the same punishment, or profile, or media coverage? Lafferty has rightly paid the price for his moment of stupidity, and while all the ‘therapy’ he’s going on isn’t going to change anything, it’s the cost of being caught – being forced to carry out token anti-sectarian work in the name of changing absolutely nothing.
Lafferty has rarely been guilty of much aside being foolish – he is a Ranger, and he is hard work, and he’s done a lot of silly things in his life.
But rather than pretend his sentence is too great, it’s more prudent to wonder why other examples got away with a lot less.