Football's a funny old game innit? All of those highly paid men driving around in sports cars through kicking a spherical leather object around a pitch, often berated by the national press for their idiocy and lack of articulacy. Yes, footballers are constantly harangued for their lack of understanding of the wider world and their Twitter faux pas, generally providing zealous journalists with quality canon fodder. I mean, they're just a bunch of morons who've never ventured anywhere near Das Kapital or The Wealth of Nations, right? They seem to just be a rabble of doughnuts who wouldn't know an Autumn Statement or a Conservative Party Conference if it was rubbed into their stud wounds with TCP, don't they?
But wait, there's been news this week of one ex-pro turned manager seems to contradict this notion. It seems that Sunderland's new gaffer has an interest in politics so divisive it has got David Miliband all in a kerfuffle, causing him to leave the Sunderland board. This fellow must be a bastard! To rile a man who acted in various positions, most notably as Head of Policy, for Darth Vader himself - former Prime Minister and part-time morally bankrupt spin heavyweight Tony Blair - one must go to extraordinary lengths. Indeed, to disgust David Miliband, a man who acted as Foreign Secretary under Gordon Brown (yeah him, that guy who told us we'd hit "the end of boom and bust" while he was cooking the books with more alacrity than George Bluth in Arrested Development), I can only think that this guy must be some kind of maniac with a Mussolini fascination and subsequent complex...
Well, if we are to believe what we read, then, indeed, Paolo di Canio is a right old fascist. In fairness to our wonderfully leech-like tabloid press, Mr di Canio does seem to hold a fascist view or two (see the below picture of him gesturing towards the fans of SS (yes, SS!) Lazio in what can only be descried as a fascist salute).
So Paolo di Canio believes in a rather worn-out, stupid doctrine which is pretty evil and generally not very fair to gays and minorities and that. To boot he's in a position of reasonable power, which holds sway over Joe Public i.e. he's in football at the top level. It's pretty alarming, right? Wrong. Not at all.
Look, if Paolo di Canio is a fascist (which is an 'if' by the way - holding slightly fascist views doesn't make you a fascist nor indeed does making a fascist salute or inviting fascist iconography - remember Prince Harry?) , it's really not that big of a deal anyway. Yes, fascism is disgusting and stupid and yes it kills people if in power, but people are entitled to their political views, regardless of whether they are offensive or not.
This week we've seen a witch hunt, calling for di Canio to declare his views - which he has done, claiming, rather unsurprisingly, that he is not a fascist - but one has to ask whether if, say, a Muslim manager was appointed to a Premier League club, there would be a media circus around him asking for his views on women's suffrage and equality? Indeed, what about Catholic managers (of which there are plenty)? Should we not ask them what their views on homosexuality are?
The point I'm making here is that while fascism is abominable and its rhetoric alarming, one who believes in it should not be hounded or potentially overlooked for job positions because of his beliefs. There are plenty of ridiculous dogmas out there that people believe in, all we can do is debate rather than berate. Also, David Miliband was fucking off to the USA anyway, wasn't he?