27 August 2006

When Blessing Yourself IS a Crime

Artur Boruc

I rarely comment on sporting matters but this sorry little tale in today’s Observer could not pass me by.

Glasgow Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc was given a formal caution by police after being accused of inciting violence. His crime: blessing himself during an “Old Firm” game against Glasgow Rangers, a fixture once described as Time Magazine as “90 minutes of sheer hatred”

The decision has provoked a strong reaction, with politicians and church leaders. Catholic Church spokesman Peter Kearney said “It is extremely regrettable that Scotland seems to have made itself one of the few countries in the world where this simple religious gesture is considered an offence.” Scottish Nationalist leader Alex Salmond said 'The procurator fiscal and the Crown Office are acting in a way that will inflame rather than reduce religious antagonism,' he said.

The Crown Office said a caution was issued as an alternative to prosecution. A spokesman said that as Boruc made the gesture before a crowd in the charged atmosphere of an Old Firm game it constituted a breach of the peace and had 'provoked alarm'.

Neither club has commented on the cautioning, but Eddie Toner, a former general secretary of the Celtic Supporters Association, claimed that the club 'hung Boruc out to dry'. Stephen Smith, spokesman for the Rangers Supporters group, added: 'Professional footballers are meant to set an example. What he did was deliberately provocative and completely done to wind up the fans.'

At times it feels that sectarianism is still alive and spitting in the West of Scotland. Support for Rangers and Celtic is historically on religious lines – Rangers for Protestants, Celtic for Catholics. As a result some gestures others might take for granted assume major significance. While playing for Rangers Paul Gascoigne faced disciplinary action in the late 90s for appearing to play a flute – The flute was a reference to Orange Order fife and drum bands. Edinburgh teams Hearts and Hibernians and Liverpool’s Liverpool FC and Everton were also supported on sectarian lines.

As a Catholic turned agnostic (I am just too lazy to be an atheist!) the idea that making the sign of the cross or appearing to play a flute can be offensive in this day and age is just plain stupid, the hell with the back story.

An anonymous persn left this comment whixh indicates that there was more to this story after all:

Corrections and clarifications

Wednesday September 6, 2006
The Guardian

In two articles in the Sport section we incorrectly asserted that the Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc had been cautioned by the Crown Office for "crossing himself" (page 7, August 31), or "blessing himself" (page 5, September 2) during a game against Rangers on February 12. We failed to note that the Crown Office had been at pains to point out that Boruc was cautioned not about "blessing himself" but about other alleged gestures towards the crowd. He was cautioned after the procurator fiscal, having reviewed all the circumstances, decided that criminal proceedings were not necessary. The letter to Boruc from the procurator fiscal made no mention whatsoever of the act of blessing himself.




16 comments:

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I find this completely outrageous! When I watch soccer, I don't expect to see such religious rancor. I view it for the constant crotch grabs, grown men crying and rolling around the field exaggerating their injuries, World Cup head butts, and overpaid athletes strutting like peacocks.

Imagine trying to bring in something so offensive as the sign of the cross into all that.

jams o donnell said...

Amen ewbl....... What do you mean breach of the peace officer?

Seriously it is all bloody stupid in my vuew

mullet said...

the poor guy didn't even realise the impact it would have! The whole thing is awful here - I wont even let the little mullet wear a hoops strip

jams o donnell said...

Ah well there are the stripes of St Mirren.. They live on Love Street after all!

mullet said...

i'm a stones throw from there! no lovin' on love street though! the little mullet is buggered anyway - he's half english!

jams o donnell said...

I got the feeling that Love Street was a bit hopeful! Half english? He could do worse that some Claret and Blue... Come on you Irons!!!!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I heard a funny quote from a British singer, Nerina Pallot, in one of her songs.

"If love is a drug, then I guess we're all sober"

Probably has nothing to do with your original entry, jams, but it made me laugh all the same.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I didn't want this picture to get missed by posting it in your Pluto entry, jams. A friend of mine has a T-shirt business on the side. He designed a really cool family crest for us. He's been hard at work designing an apropos shirt to fit with the big dwarf Planet story. I got a laugh out of it.

Mormon Family Man Strikes Again!

Bryan said...

There was a time when you played football because it was a game. Making it a business has removed all of the fun.

If the sign of the cross was the only gesture on the field, the lads weren't working very hard.

mullet said...

no irons jams...he's half a 'norvern slag' - a manc! but really, it is a disgrace! Up here, the very existence of catholic schools gets all the blame for the sectarianism......it seems to be a non-issue in england.

the flying monkeys said...

I think the planet needs a whole new range of sports...

the flying monkeys said...

I can't find my football socks. Did I actually say football? What is football? I have not a clue.

jams o donnell said...

I wish we were all addicted to that one ewbl. there is far too little love in this world. LOL, that is good. the T shirt amused me too!

Hmm he can't be a Man U fan - he's from Manchester! Seriously mullets, the sectarian this is a pile of shite as far as I am concerned. I went to catholic schools. Luckily it is really does not seem to be the issue that it is north of the border.

The Irishman inmy would suggest Hurling as a great sport for the world.. Fast, skilful and the players are armed.. All the skill of Field Hockey, all the violence of the ice variety! Perhaps a dangerous one for me. I was a thug on a fottball pitch, give me a weapon and I would have been dangerous..... I turned from a bookish swot into a psychopath!

Football. be it soccer, rugby american, canadian or australian, money has made them a very duifferent and a much less attractive. Hell it would cost me over $70 to see West Ham play. Exciting as they can be I have better things to spend my money on!

There is still some problems with sectarianism in some parts of Britian. The Celtic/Rangers match is a manifestation of this Bryan. THe irony is that Boruc could have got his dick out and waved it at the crowd without problems... make a catholic gesture and this sort of crap happens!

mullet said...

o.k...bolton - pinpointed!(but rejects that & goes for liverpool???)

dont know what it is jams? it's really hairy anyways...what's your 2 boab on the matter? Not trying to put you in a 'position', just wondering what the non-scots think of it

mullet said...

me, you - 2nd generation irish/catholic....a good post - screw scotland - never get over it! you are not the ambassador for visit scotland dot com - and that's a good thing

Anonymous said...

The truth comes out eventually....


Corrections and clarifications

Wednesday September 6, 2006
The Guardian

In two articles in the Sport section we incorrectly asserted that the Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc had been cautioned by the Crown Office for "crossing himself" (page 7, August 31), or "blessing himself" (page 5, September 2) during a game against Rangers on February 12. We failed to note that the Crown Office had been at pains to point out that Boruc was cautioned not about "blessing himself" but about other alleged gestures towards the crowd. He was cautioned after the procurator fiscal, having reviewed all the circumstances, decided that criminal proceedings were not necessary. The letter to Boruc from the procurator fiscal made no mention whatsoever of the act of blessing himself.


Needless to say the 'Cry Wolf' brigade have got their way again