As a rule I'm generally against banning the media.
If you don't like something don't read it. Don't buy it, don't click it, don't share it. I've not read the recent Leckie article in question and don't think I've ever bought The Sun so Gersnet's forum ban on the tabloid's content doesn't really affect me much. Indeed, Bill Leckie was never a writer I thought had much to say and from what I hear that's not changed.
In terms of this debate, I've felt for a while Alfredo Morelos is treated differently from other players by the media. I also think race does play a part in this. The fact his English isn't great and he's South American has certainly led to some very lazy stereotyping, more so given the lad doesn't give many/any interviews. Understandably, given there's an almost Fawltyesque default to a depressingly high number of people in this country when it comes to 'foreigners' and our local media aren't immune to this. When that's added to him playing for Rangers then you've got the perfect storm for some.
Morelos clearly irks opposition supporters. You get players like that, beloved by their own and hated by everyone else, Morelos is one of those. The Aberdeen supporters bringing in a banner about his mother was crass and an embarrassment to their club who should have removed it and banned those involved. But was it worse than the song we (I) sang to Frank McGarvey many moons ago? I've never met the said Mrs McGarvey but I apologise to her now, I wonder if she reads Gersnet? Likewise I cheered along with almost everyone else in the old Rangers end at Parkhead when a particularly distasteful banner was unfurled in the rafters under the roof about the recently deceased Celtic director Desmond White. The Celtic support, most of who could read it clearly, were going mental, whilst we cheered and laughed and Strathclyde's finest sought a sharpshooter as there was no other way to get the lads down. Again, not my finest moment.
In my defence I was only a teenager; I'm not the brightest now but I was particularly stupid then. Everyone else was doing it so I joined in, I gave no thought whatsoever to the actual people involved. In part I think that's because I didn't see them as 'real' people. They were people I read about in the papers or saw on TV, they were basically celebrities, and so treated differently.
A couple of years ago I walked from Sloan's in the Argyle Arcade to the taxi rank at Central Station late on a Saturday night in the company of a minor local celebrity and his wife. It must have taken us 30 minutes to cover the distance, a normal walk of around five minutes. Every drunk wanted a selfie, or to shake his hand or to tell him he was great. But some wanted to tell him he was a dick, almost all completely ignored his wife and the rest of our party, we were invisible, our desire to get a taxi home was inconsequential to their right for a new profile pic and a dull anecdote over lunch the next day, 'you'll never guess who I seen last night in Buchanan Street...'. He smiled, obliged, did the voice and played his part. I'd have hooked the first guy that pushed past my wife for a better angle on their Samsung, I'd have ignored every friendly 'hello big man' and would have almost certainly reacted badly to anyone who called me a dick in front of friends and family (even if they might have been correct!). I wouldn't have swapped his life for mine for any amount of money.
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With that in mind, Morelos is a celebrity in our wee corner of the globe. He's operates to different rules from the rest of us, that's why warmers like Leckie write about him. I suspect there's more than a hint of politics to this too. I imagine the Scottish Sun is finding Rangers something of a cold house currently. Gerrard won't be doing exclusives or feeding them tit-bits, I'm certain of that. Gerrard is Scouse, he knows how much the paper is hated in his home town and he knows the consequences for anyone who doesn't follow that code. There's a reason why Souness, one of Liverpool's greatest ever players, doesn't get many invites back to Anfield and that reason is The Sun. I suspect all of our backroom team follow a similar code too, they're all ex-Liverpool and might harbour ambitions to return there one day. It's also obvious that Morelos isn't a fan of the limelight off the pitch. He seems to be a quiet living guy, he's not a regular at the dancing, he's yet to be photographed barely conscious outside a kebab shop and he's not really playing the media game. There are a noticeable lack of interviews with him, no daft photos of him with a sombrero on, or beside some Tennent's girls or whatever their modern equivalent is. Morelos doesn't seem to be much interested in that side of celebrity, he just likes playing football and scoring goals. And, yes, he plays on the edge with the occasional disciplinary problem but he's no different from dozens of other SPFL players in that respect - other than his colour and/or nationality of course.
Add to that the rise of the club's soon to be improved internal channels, supporter-led media like H&H and Gersnet as well as wall-to-wall Sky/BT Sport and the rest and there's a fair degree of choice now to get my Rangers fix. Anything The Sun has as an exclusive will be all over social media within minutes of breaking. The media has changed immeasurably in recent years, but, sadly, I don't think Bill Leckie has. It's not unfair to have some sympathy for the Fourth Estate's tribulations but opinion pieces like Leckie's don't belong in this new decade.
In closing, it's worth noting Gersnet is independent whilst the people behind it have always struck me as reasonable and fair. As such they can ban whoever and whatever they want, it's their site. What I would also say is you need to go some to get a ban from here. Simply having a contrary opinion isn't enough, I can testify to that. I wonder if anyone at The Sun cares? Because they should: sport, and football in particular, is what has kept them going for years. If we're no longer interested in what you've got to say on that then The Sun has a problem that it's running out of time to fix.
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