Are you familiar with the former darts world champion and current employee of Sky TV, Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow? Never, it has to be said, one of life’s great intellects and he proved it tonight beyond reasonable doubt with his comments about the abuse of young footballers.
These are Bristow’s tweets:
“Dart players tough guys footballers wimps.”
“Bet the rugby boys are ok ha ha.”
“U got to sought him out when u get older or dont look in the mirror glad i am a dart player proper men.”
“Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out.”
Bristow is wrong on so many levels and let’s examine just a few.
Firstly, we know that a football coach, who was a predatory paedophile called Barry Bennell, abused a number of young boys in his charge. He was sent to prison. More allegations have surfaced in recent weeks and a number of courageous men, former footballers who were coached by Bennell, have come forward. My heart breaks for the ex players and I hope they are being properly cared for. I hope too that they get the justice they deserve. A former darts player sees things in a different light.
Much of what Bristow says is drivel. Where is the evidence that darts players are tough guys and footballers are wimps. Has he never come across Roy Keane, Graeme Souness or Alan Shearer? Many of them may be unfeasibly wealthy but that does not make them wimps, does it? They might dive about a bit and feign injury, but wimps? Really?
But rugby players are “okay ha ha” muses Bristow. Rugby players like Brian Moore who suffered abuse as a child? Perhaps that means the Crafty Cockney regards Moore as a wimp, too? I think he should be a “tough guy” and tell Moore to his face.
After having suffered throughout your life following damaging child abuse, Bristow’s brain clanks into overdrive by suggesting that victims should have “sought him out” as they got older. Well, that would be a good idea. Much better to end up in prison for GBH or even murder yourself instead of informing the authorities and seeing him up before the beak. It’s all so easy. Why on earth didn’t the victims of abuse think of that one themselves?
But Bristow melts down altogether in his final tweet. “Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when i was a kid as i got older i would have went back and sorted that poof out,” he rages, the revealing a more sinister aspect of his ranting: Bennell wasn’t just a sick paedophile, he was a “poof”. And all paedophiles must be “poofs’, right?
This is the language of uneducated fools. Bennell did not abuse young boys because he was gay, he abused them because he was a paedophile. Bristow may not be able to tell the difference, but I can assure him there is one. Gay men do not routinely abuse young boys any more than straight men routinely abuse little girls. Your sexuality does not decree that you wish to have sex with underage boys or girls. I don’t know why it is so hard for some people, like a fading darts player, to work that one out for himself.
There’s more than a bit of “queer bashing” about Bristow’s language and, I suggest, just a little insecurity. Perhaps he has his own issues with his own machismo? Perhaps he doth protest too much? He certainly hasn’t lived up to his nickname.