Letter: Lad culture is bad culture

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BY ATTEMPTING to portray the actions of Robbie Fowler as merely "opponentphobia", Peter Corrigan ("Get your apologies out for the lads", Sport, 7 March) gives credence to the view that systematic abuse of one's opponents on the football field is inevitable, if not acceptable. The fact is, Graeme Le Saux has been taunted about his sexuality for years. He has become resigned to that from opposition supporters. However, what is unacceptable is when that same regular drip feed of abuse comes from fellow professionals.

More importantly, Peter Corrigan fails to realise that there is a world of difference between references to a player's Scottishness or colour of hair, and the more insidious remarks made by Fowler and others. It is precisely because football is a so-called "man's game" that homophobic comments are so damaging to self-esteem.

As a teacher in an all-boys school I have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects on young men of regular verbal abuse, particularly of a sexual nature. Most of the perpetrators see it as "fun", failing to recognise the appalling effects of their taunts. It is something all schools are striving to eliminate in their anti-bullying policies.

No one should have to put up with such regular abuse from his peers. The vast majority of us have fought to kick racism out of football. We should fight to kick systematic abuse, laddism and homophobia out of the game too.

EBER A KINGSTON

Ewell, Surrey

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