Townsend’s father defends decision to tackle Hodgson
The father of England’s Andros Townsend has insisted that the Kick It Out anti-racism organisation was right to seek an explanation from the Football Association about the England manager Roy Hodgson’s joke last month in which his son was referred to as “the monkey”.
Hodgson will today be asked to address the issue for the first time at a press conference coinciding with the squad announcement for England’s friendlies against Chile and Germany this month. Troy Townsend, who manages Kick It Out’s mentoring and leadership work, was speaking on the issue for the first time. He told i that his organisation had an “obligation to ask the question” about Hodgson telling the England players to “feed the monkey” by passing to his son in the World Cup qualifier against Poland at Wembley.
“People think we are going for Roy Hodgson. We are not,” he said. “If that happened at grassroots level, you would ask [for an explanation]. Why is it different with the national team?”
Kick It Out wrote to the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, seeking “to ascertain the full facts” after details of the joke – which the Tottenham player insisted via Twitter had caused him no offence – were published on 16 October. The organisation said it was satisfied with the explanation it received from the FA but its pursuit of the issue led to criticism of the campaigners.
Townsend Snr is a leading figure in Kick It Out’s attempts to overcome the racial and sexual bias in football. But though the 20-year-old organisation has diversified beyond race quality issues, Townsend said that it would be complacent to assume that British football had put the problem in the past.
“Racism has always been there,” he said. “We get complacent because we always put it in the background. There is still some pretty horrendous stuff. It’s like a revolving circle; it will go quiet for a long time, people will assume it is not here and then it’s around again – not just in Britain, of course, but everywhere, as the events in Moscow [where Yaya Touré was racially abused] go to prove.” MORE
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