Discussing Sol Campbell’s claims about the England captaincy 0

Obviously the big story this morning concerns Sol Campbell’s allegations about the Football Association and his belief that he would have been England captain for ten years had he been white.

It would be simple to dismiss Campbell’s comments and attribute them to post-career bitterness, but there is an anomaly here and it is quite strange that his permanence in the national side didn’t make him a candidate for the armband at some point.

Irrespective of that, at no point in the various snippets from his biography that have been serialised this morning does Campbell reference having quizzed either the various England managers whom he played for or any FA officials about this situation.

Sure, that would have been an incredibly uncomfortable conversation for everyone involved, but didn’t he owe some of these people the opportunity to justify their decisions before automatically branding them as racists?

People are very quick these days to ‘call racist’ on one another, and as a result the accusation almost seems to have been devalued in its seriousness. But in the sense implied by Campbell, it’s an extremely damaging remark to make - and in this case it’s been made off the back of what seems to be little more than a hunch.

When Campbell’s full biography is published, examples of incidents which support his beliefs may well be made public, but until that point he just seems to have tarnished a group of people with an accusation which they don’t seem to have warranted.

This isn’t just about out-of-touch octogenarians at Soho Square, because the England manager has been responsible for appointing the national captain for as long as most of us can remember - in effect, Campbell’s claims are also directed at Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, and Sven Goran Eriksson. He may not mean them to be, but he’s indirectly implied that they have been complicit in a form of very severe prejudice.

I don’t know why Campbell wasn’t England captain for a decade, but the impression here is that he doesn’t really know either - so doesn’t he have a responsibility not to stain reputations until he’s more sure of what he actually knows?

For the sake of argument, maybe he was seen as a divisive figure because of the way he left Tottenham? Maybe, knowing his personality, those England managers thought him unsuitable to the role? The decisions he’s made in his career do suggest that he has a very self-serving approach to the game, so maybe that’s the reason behind this?

Maybe I’m in a minority here, but I’m not really comfortable with someone defaming organisational or personal reputations with such minimal due cause.

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