It’s guest blog time again and today it’s the return of Justin Davis, who gives us his personal view on the thorny issue of the Club’s media comms over the last few days…
Norwich City is, in my view, one of the best-run football clubs in the UK and Europe.
From the training ground and facilities. From the youth players, coaches, staff and owners.
Moreover, the club’s local outreach, charity and community work, and support against discrimination in the last few years have been admirable. Also, the club’s self-funded model is one that should be admired in a game that has unfortunately been overrun by money, debt and greed.
Okay, okay! Calm down.
They got the Premier League recruitment terribly, terribly wrong in the last few seasons but that doesn’t mean they won’t get it right going forward.
Alright, fair enough!
“Billionaire owners”, I can hear you scream. Sure, a little investment from a person that fits Delia’s and Michael’s standards and the club’s philosophy and structure wouldn’t go amiss.
But, if you were to read some of the comments on social media over the last few days you’d be under the strong impression that the club is badly run, with no moral valves and the sporting director is Dr. Evil laughing maniacally at the misery of Norwich City supporters.
Some of the online social media reactions to Stuart Webber, or certain players, and more recently the video art piece that the club did to celebrate Pride month, have been a tad over the top, even if there has been some genuine concern over the art piece.
There has been a lot of virtue signalling.
Art is subjective. It can be thought-provoking and symbolic. My own subjective view is that the art piece was aimed at those who use certain words without knowing they may cause much harm and offence. And judging by the online reaction…
Those words can be incredibly hurtful and on this particular issue, I firmly believe the club’s heart was in the right place.
I’m an actor by trade working under the stage name Brandon Francis (for those interested) and, as a result, I get my fair bit of criticism and online abuse. And having experienced bullying, I understand how and why words can be incredibly painful.
We should talk about why these words are offensive – now, that is something worth talking about.
However, there has been a recent trend online, which is to silence anything or anybody that might be considered hurtful or offensive. Yet, it’s difficult to keep up with these impossibly high moral standards.
Because we’re human. We make mistakes. But, that’s how we learn – by our failures and mistakes.
Furthermore, we all have different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. We’re not all going to think the same way, and that’s a good thing. For instance, I’m an ex-pat supporter living in Japan and, believe me, the culture and beliefs in Asia on certain issues are very different from what they are in the UK.
Even the Greeks, founders of modern democracy, understood the importance of listening and debate. The Greek theatres were built for the very purpose of listening. However, this doesn’t mean you have to respect or agree with all ideas.
But, if you don’t debate or talk, how can you possibly know the strength of your own arguments? If you try to silence everything that hurts your feelings, you get stuck in an echo chamber, hearing your own voice repeated back to you, hence, narrowing communication and progress.
We, as a modern society, have lost the art of talking and listening to each other.
Sports can play an important role in addressing and raising awareness of key societal issues. Moreover, it brings supporters together regardless of background, belief, culture, or sexuality.
And that in itself is a beautiful and wonderful thing.
Our club isn’t perfect, there is room for improvement, but, we should be incredibly proud of Norwich City – a club that is leading the way on many fronts.
Let’s hope for a good season ahead!