Race to the finish line

They’re not real fans. That’s the get out clause used by sporting bodies time and time again to abrogate themselves from any responsibility when racism rears its ugly head in sport.

From the moment Marcus Rashford hit the post last week, the fact that it was one of the worst penalty kicks I’ve ever seen was overtaken by the moronic racist abuse on social media aimed at him and teammates Jaden Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who also failed to score with their penalty kicks.

Nevermind that Rashford’s penalty was his only kick of the entire tournament and 19-year old Saka had been one of our most effective players throughout in a position where the most competition existed in the squad, it suddenly became an excuse for the ever present mouth breathers to let rip.

It was all so predictable, sad and downright shameful.

On Sunday, Sir Lewis Hamilton pulled off one of the most incredible driving performances of his illustrious career to win the British Grand Prix at Silverstone after being given a 10-second penalty for his part in a serious crash which saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ruled out on the first lap and sent to hospital for observation.

Social media was awash with racist abuse and Facebook removed a number of posts from Instagram during and after the race.

Formula 1 fell just short of singing We All Stand Together by the Frog Chorus.

It’s nowhere near enough.

If social media can target advertising according to our keystrokes then they can certainly trace the IP addresses where these racist posts originated, band their accounts permanently and if necessary report it to police.

Meanwhile, politicians whose careers survive on empty rhetoric have the audacity to call taking the knee an empty gesture.

If we opt to take a knee in a show of solidarity against what has happened over two Sundays then so be it.

Enough of this not real fans and empty gesture rubbish, we all need to take ownership of the problem and drive this behaviour out.

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In just 21 years reality TV has become ever present in modern culture. TV channels are flooded with it and not a day passes without some terminally thick, vacuous love islander or deluded sales monkey Apprentice contestant taking up column inches and website space with a gratuitous photo opportunity.

Like most other people, I was glued to the screen throughout Big Brother 1 as it was a 24/7 social experiment that had not been seen before.

It was hamsters in a cage with dialogue.

But the wheels soon began to come off as characters became celebrated for their mediocrity, lack of intellect or obsession with “enhancements”which in turn encouraged a generation to aspire to also being empty headed, two dimensional and appearance obsessed.

A handful of people have gone on to have successful careers in television and radio because they actually had the personality and likeability factor to back it up.

But while reality TV has given us Alison Hammond, Josie Gibson and Scarlett Moffatt, it’s also responsible for Katie Hopkins, one of the most obnoxious people on the planet.

That alone is enough to admit that reality TV was an interesting experiment but now it’s time to call a halt.

Apart from Gogglebox, of course.

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Fifteen minutes weeding the patio followed by three days of not being able to straighten up and my right leg suddenly deciding not to take my weight as I’m walking downstairs.

Just as I was patting myself on the back for betting my blood pressure and diabetes under control and losing weight, comes that tap on the shoulder that says Oi! Old bloke.

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Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

Q: What’s the minimum number of darts required to score 180?

A: One?

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Edward Case

Columnist