An abiding memory for me from my career in soccer and rugby is the virulence and colour of the insults hurled at all and sundry, by all and sundry. Team 'mates', opponents, 'supporters' and opposing followers all gave vent to the worst insults they could think up. Facial features ('monkey'), size ('ya fucking dwarf'), religion ('Tague bastards'), region ('sheep shagging bastards') and just about anything else was deployed as deemed appropriate.
And nobody gave a damn. The insults for all intent and purposes went in one ear and out the other. The idea of one player taking official action on the basis of an insult would be so far from our world as to be quite literally incomprehnsible.
But that was then, this is now.
John Terry calls Anton Ferdinand a 'fucking black bastard' and all hell breaks loose. In the middle of Presidential elelctions here, the Euro going down the tube, turmoil in the Middle East, the incident dominates the headlines in Britain and Ireland. Think about it. One footballer insults another and it's headline news. And of course it's headline news for one reason only. The insult was racially based.
We have indeed taken collective leave of our senses. I'm not sure whether more of this insanity will lead towards a Great Awakening or whether it will just copper-fasten and normalise the insanity.