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Marc Bola charged by FA

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John Richardson
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I see Boro's Mark Bola has been charged by the FA for an 'historical' post on social media in 2012.

The FA's legal department moving at the speed of a glacier?

UTB,

John

PS no doubt a twelve point deduction coming Boro's way?


Original Fat Bob
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@john-richardson

9 years ago when Bola was 14 !

How pathetic can these woke people get?

Unbelievable Jeff !

OFB


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Selwynoz
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@original-fat-bob

I couldn’t agree more. How can the FA be going after him for something that he posted so long ago when he was just a fourteen year old lad. What are they hoping to achieve. I admit to not knowing him at all but he seems like a decent guy who has battled his way through to a point where he can have a successful career as a footballer.

I hope the club and the supporters help him get through this absurdity.

utb


John Richardson
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@original-fat-bob

You are compelled to wonder if they have nothing more important to be worrying about. He was fourteen for goodness sake.

UTB,

John


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K P in Spain
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Sounds as if someone knows we don't have cover for Bola so are trying to scupper our hopes of top six.  NW better sign an out of contract left sided defender asap! 😎


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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@john-richardson

9 years ago when Bola was 14 !

How pathetic can these woke people get?

Unbelievable Jeff !

OFB

I think it’s ridiculous too but can’t understand your woke comment. I’m proud to be woke, me, like. 


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Redcar Red
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@john-richardson

9 years ago when Bola was 14 !

How pathetic can these woke people get?

Unbelievable Jeff !

OFB

What next, a Premiership Striker being charged for playing Doctors and Nurses when he was 6?

My disdain towards the governing bodies of this game finds new depths each month whether it be UEFA, FIFA or in this case the FA again. If it was "raised" by someone I would be more concerned about the motives of the individual trawling through a 14 year olds posts.

That they had to delve back almost a decade would in the mind of most sensible grown ups indicate that such a gap is probably more representative of who he is now rather than a peer group influenced spotty adolescent. 

If it was a constant recurring theme stretching back nine years then they may have a point but that isn't the charge, all they have done is to make themselves look even ridiculous let alone more than a bit cringeworthy.


Martin Bellamy
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I know I’ve apparently upset people with a “political” comment before but, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so here’s some info on woke and wokeness:

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/05/18/what-does-woke-mean-britons

As long as it means what the OED defines it as i.e. “woke, adjective: Originally: well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice; frequently in stay woke.”, then I’m happy to be woke, because the alternative appears to be not alert to racial or social injustice and that’s definitely not me. 


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K P in Spain
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Posted by: @martin-bellamy
Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@john-richardson

9 years ago when Bola was 14 !

How pathetic can these woke people get?

Unbelievable Jeff !

OFB

I think it’s ridiculous too but can’t understand your woke comment. I’m proud to be woke, me, like. 

Martin, as I understand it the FA may be politically and socially aware to sensitive issues (woke) such as posts on social media which can be considered offensive,racial or discriminatory but they do not appear to be displaying any common sense in my view given the time elapsed and Bola's age at the time; a post in the very near past would, however, be a different matter and warrant action.

I agree with RR that this makes the FA look ridiculous.  It could perhaps, if necessary, have been dealt with behind closed doors and without the need for any action or publicity.

I do hope that this does not result in any action being taken against Bola unless there is evidence of repeated and recent offences. 😎


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain
... I agree with RR that this makes the FA look ridiculous.  It could perhaps, if necessary, have been dealt with behind closed doors and without the need for any action or publicity.
 
I do hope that this does not result in any action being taken against Bola unless there is evidence of repeated and recent offences. 😎

Agreed


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werdermouth
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What a completely bizarre state of affairs if the FA are going to start pursuing players for historic posts made before they are deemed legally responsible adults - where should the line be drawn if this leads to any kind of censure? Is 14 old enough to be regarded as 'should have known better'? what about 12, 11 or even 10. It's nonsense and perhaps the problem all young people will face knowing that any ill-judged social media posts will be there to be held against them at any future point.

I think maybe those at the FA should reflect on whether they themselves might have made suspect or derogatory remarks at a similar age - even though I doubt social media would have existed back then. You only have to read the kind of antics many of our leaders and politicians got up to in their teenage years at public school to imagine that many of the suits at the FA are probably not likely to have lead a wholly virtuous youth without mistakes.

I suspect unless players sign up to a code of conduct when becoming a professional footballer regarding public comments and behaviour then I don't see how a governing body can legitimately hold them to account for anything they said or did before becoming an adult. I suspect this incident is beyond their remit and it's just a case of being seen to take it seriously - though they risk undermining their credibility in doing so. No doubt the remark was wrong if said by a current player but a 14-year old boy is just that - let alone something said a decade ago.

Maybe the FA should send him to his room and tell him if it happens again he'll have his phone confiscated for the rest of the week!


deleriad
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Put me in the camp of those who think this has nothing to do with being "woke" and that trying to use "woke" as a slur speaks more about those doing the slurring. That said, I completely agree that this is ludicrous.

If Bola had been discovered to be responsible for some insulting graffiti when he was 14, or had been expelled from a school for fighting or caught shoplifting then none of that would be in the least bit relevant to his career now. 

Just to note my creds for a moment.

I spent about 20 years on ethnographic research into culture online (including football fandom); did an analysis of hashtags before they were called hashtags; wrote about a collaborative online novel. I'm pretty clued up on how culture and communication works online and is different from offline.

About 12 years ago, a friend working for an international company got hauled up for making a joking comment on twitter, on his own account in which the punchline was "is the pope a Nazi bastard?" (People might remember that the pope at the time had been in the Hitler youth.) This led to an inquiry lasting 9 months before it was eventually agreed that he had no case to answer. In the meantime, he was off work, started taking anti-depression meds, suffering from panic attacks. I advised him that he could sue the company for a shed-load of money and would win quite easily but he just wanted to get it over with and move onto something else. Which he did.

With the caveat that Bola's comments might be significantly worse than the headline makes it sound, if I were advising the PFA I would be looking at this as gross over-reaction by the FA which has caused harm and risk of loss of future earnings potential.

As a society we have got ourselves horribly tangled up by our attitude towards social media posts. If this is one or two social media posts by a 14 year old boy who thinks it's funny or daring to use, say, some homophobic insults then the club also needs to step in. To justify this kind of action by the FA you would need a pattern of abusive behaviour online that continued for an extended period into adulthood. If that's not the case, it's the FA that has a case to answer, not Bola. 


werdermouth
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It seems youth players between the ages of 12-15 are subject to the FA rule book - so it may well be that Bola will be found in breach of one of its rules when he was 14. As to whether they choose to pursue the matter given he can no longer be disciplined as a youth player is another matter. Can a senior player be disciplined for an offence made as a youth player after a certain amount of time has elapsed? I suspect that's not beyond the FA where rules are rules.


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werdermouth
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Just reading about the case, I hadn't realised that Bola has already been charged by the FA with misconduct for the incident so it appears they are pursuing the case. Given that appears to be a single post made at 14, I don't see why it wasn't just placed on record to be used if  there was any further breach made as an adult.


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Powmill-Naemore
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@deleriad

Excellent post Deleriad


Liked by deleriad
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Powmill-Naemore
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Just read this, which is pertinent to the current discussion..

https://mercantilebarristers.com/punishing-historically-offensive-tweets-in-football-the-grey-area-by-samuel-okoronkwo/

 


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Stircrazy
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The story as reported in today's Times:

Middlesbrough’s Marc Bola charged for tweet that he posted aged 14

 

Martin Hardy, Northern Football Correspondent

 

The Middlesbrough defender, Marc Bola, has been charged by the FA with aggravated misconduct for comments he made on social media when he was 14, nine years ago.

The FA has alleged that Bola, now 23, who signed for Middlesbrough from Blackpool in 2019, posted a ‘reference to sexual orientation.’ He is facing a written warning, an education course or a potential three-game ban for the post from 2012.

 

An FA statement read: “Middlesbrough FC’s Marc Bola has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on April 14, 2012.  It is alleged that this post is insulting and/or abusive and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1.  It is further alleged that this post constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’ which is defined in FA Rule E3.2, as it included a reference to sexual orientation. The defender has until September 20, 2021 to provide his response to this charge.”

 

Bola and Middlesbrough have until Wednesday [sic], September 20 to answer the charge. He could face a regulatory commission and, if he either admits the charge or is found guilty, there is the potential of a mandatory education programme, a ban of at least three games or a fine.  Bola came through Arsenal’s academy and had loan spells at Notts County, Bristol Rovers before moving to Blackpool in 2018 and then Middlesbrough 12 months later. He has played five times for the Sky Bet Championship club this season.

 

The West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen was charged by the FA for a tweet he wrote when he was 15, which contained a racist term. He apologised, was given a warning and was told to attend an FA education course.

There are currently 99 responses on the site, the ones on topic all reflecting the views expressed above.  Here's a small selection which caught my eye or made me smile for one reason or another:

1)  In other news, Jack Grealish is facing a lengthy suspension after failing to hand in his year 7 history homework 14 years ago.

2)  I actually know Marc from his time at Blackpool.  He’s a really nice guy, polite and very down to earth. You can tell he’s been brought up well This policy of being prepared to investigate social media postings from childhood is frankly disturbing.

3)  Who is going to charge the FA with bringing the game into disrepute? This is truly the most ridiculous thing I have read about the FA. They should be ashamed of themselves. They should do nothing. Even if he thinks the same now, which I doubt because we all leave our childhood views behind, there is absolutely no law against what people think and we also have freedom of speech in this country.

4)  Never, ever underestimate the stupidity of the FA.

5)  How long before the FA start sifting through current players' old school reports?

6)  I find the actions of a person who searched through tweets made by a 14 year old 9 years ago rather disturbing. That behaviour today is far more worrying than a prattish comment made by a child a decade ago.

7)  I have already commented on this, but still incensed. When are the Times going to have one of their sports journalists condemn the FA for this disgraceful ruling. Probably not, he plays for Middlesbrough !!!

8)  Me again. I hope they ask Neil Warnock his opinion of this shameful ruling. Hopefully he won’t hold back.

Interestingly, one poster made the point that the age of criminal responsibility in England & Wales is 10!


werdermouth
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@powmillnaemore

Interesting article but it couldn't find out whether Andre Gray ultimately was sanctioned - Interestingly, I read another related story where Gray's famous girlfriend, one of the band members from Little Mix, went public on the Tweets and how she felt disgusted by them and Gray once again apologised for them. I wonder if it is indeed the tabloid press who trawl through these Tweets trying to find something to make a story over. Maybe Marc Bola has had a famous girlfriend and it is indeed the tabloids who rake up the past in search of headlines?


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Redcar Red
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If I was a Footballer I'd be inclined to fund a similar investigation into the behaviour of the Suits at the FA throughout their lifetimes with particular emphasis on delving into their childhoods. I'm guessing that collectively there could be plenty of similar dirt to dig up about things said and done and mistakenly thought to have been long forgotten. That said I'm guessing that the faceless, nameless nature of "The FA" allows them a cloak of invisibility. 

Whilst chasing a 14 year olds tweets maybe they should have been looking in the mirror as to why they agreed to participate in a Football game in Hungary knowing full well what would happen. Taking a strong and bold stand to refuse to play at the venue or instruct their players to walk off the field at the first sign of abuse would have been better use of their resources and shown a genuine desire to remove racism from Football. The inconvenience and potential repercussions however clearly mattered far more to them.

The reality is, they like to pay token lip service to causes rather than actually flex their muscles as a leading FA in the global footballing community and effect change. They are very good at talking the talk and coming up with Ra Ra taglines but never walk the walk. 


Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @powmillnaemore

@deleriad

Excellent post Deleriad

Agreed. A lot of common sense there. I guess the missing piece of the jigsaw is what MB’s Tweet actually said, but it’s hard to see it being bad enough to justify any action at this juncture. 


Martin Bellamy
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Maybe the FA will make him tidy his room, take his PlayStation away and threaten to ground him. 😉


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John Richardson
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@redcarred

Or simply get the faceless ones at the Fs to look up the word hypocrisy in the dictionary. It would be a start.

A professional footballer to whom this stalking has happened should take them to court. Now where does the ominously silent PFA stand on this situation? As an aside how much is the senior executive of the PFA paid...

Marc Bola you have my support, for what it's worth.

UTB,

John

PS Doesn't FA have another meaning? I'll look it up.


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Original Fat Bob
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@stircrazy

liked this comment 

Interestingly, one poster made the point that the age of criminal responsibility in England & Wales is 10!

OFB


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werdermouth
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@original-fat-bob

It remains to be seen whether the post Bola made at 14 would be regarded as a criminal offence - I checked the CPS website to see what falls into their definition of 'Hate Crime'. It's quite vague and open to interpretation, which could easily include a homophobic remark in a social media post...

"Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity."

There is no legal definition of hostility so we use the everyday understanding of the word which includes ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.

Given that definition, it's surprising the CPS don't take action against thousand of people for what they post on social media and indeed the Social Media companies for failing to remove such content.

btw The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is only 8 and over here in Germany is 14 - other notable ages are 18 in Luxembourg, 15 in Sweden but only 6 in the US state of North Carolina - though no doubt they're probably already carrying guns at that age!


Ken Smith
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Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,     
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord           
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.         
O Master grant that I may never seek           
So much to be consoled as to console          
To be understood as to understand        
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.      
Make me a channel of your peace.         
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope          
Where there is darkness, only light        
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.        
O Master grant that I may never seek        
So much to be consoled as to console         
To be understood as to understand        
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.      
Make me a channel of your peace       
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned      
In giving of ourselves that we receive      
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Amen to that. It’s all about foregivenes, not too cryptic for Diasborians.

 


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Original Fat Bob
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@werdermouth

As Kenneth Williams said as Caesar in Carry on Cleo

“Infamy Infamy they’ve all got it in for me!”

OFB

 


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Original Fat Bob
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Wonder if Boro had a payment clause inserted if Bamford was awarded and England cap?

He starts at no 9 tonight at 4

 

OFB


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werdermouth
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@original-fat-bob

I would be surprised if Marc Bola opts to quote Kenneth Williams in his defence to the FA against a homophobic post...


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Original Fat Bob
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@werdermouth

Ooer Missus!

Didnt think of that !

OFB


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Redcar Red
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Posted by: @werdermouth

"Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity."

Taking that as a foundation perhaps to to the ludicrous levels that the FA now seem to be hellbent on now I wonder if they will charge Gazza over his sectarian flute playing incident from over twenty years ago? It was in an Old Firm game in Scotland rather than England but he represented the English FA at International level and if a 14 year old can be punished as a grown man at 23 for his previous error of judgement then surely a grown man like Gazza was at the time should also be likewise charged for historical inappropriateness?

I'm not actually serious about Gazza but at what point do people stop looking for something to be offended over?

What about the incident with Gazza on the receiving end of some overt attention of his nether regions from Vinnie Jones. Nowadays that would be classed as a sexual assault surely so lets get Vinnie up before the FA. 

Staying with Gazza there was that goal scoring drinking celebration with Sheringham, Redknapp and McManaman all resplendent in the FA's very own England shirts. Surely recovering alcoholics would have found that scene played out in front of millions insensitive and offensive especially those who had lost loved ones to the addiction?

Speaking of Addictions perhaps the white line snorting celebration from Robbie Fowler has led to many taking up the habit since and paid the ultimate cost?

What about the four Chelsea Players who were totally wasted on booze the night after 9/11 and their disgusting behaviour and comments aimed at American Tourists. Is that not a form of appalling Racist behaviour of the very worst kind?

How about Mark Bosnich and Dwight Yorke dressed as Women secretly filming unsuspecting females in their company way back in 1998. I can think of several minority groups who would be offended greatly (and rightly so) by that behaviour but again it was grown men not a 14 year old.

Then there is Jamie Carragher, not for his spitting incident over a driver and his 14 year old daughter but for his naked dalliances with a stripper complete with whipped cream, surely that can be classified as demeaning to the fairer sex and is just waiting for a complaint from a reader bedecked in horn rimmed glasses, resplendent in a tweed twin set, lips pursed typing furiously from Ruislip. 

Taking it back to another ex Boro player what about Ray Parlour tipping prawn crackers into a Hong Kong taxi when he was with Arsenal. Hong Kong? Prawn Crackers? surely has to be something racist and offensive there hasn't there?

Where do you draw the line and how far back do you trawl, did the punishments then fit the crime as it is perceived today or was it just a bit of Blokes and their high jinks? The above are just high profile cases. There will no doubt be thousands if not ten of thousands of things that didn't reach the press over the decades. Are Footballers both past and present now sat anxiously waiting for a letter to drop through the letterbox claiming that they caused offence to many including those who probably didn't even know they were being offended at the time?

 

 


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