I don’t often veer away from football in this column but the events of the past wee while cannot be ignored.
I’m talking about the despicable abuse sent to Dundee players Jonathan Afolabi and Charlie Adam just for doing their jobs.
Despite being a man of words I’ve found it quite difficult to put down exactly the right ones to justify my feelings on this.
As regular readers will have seen, usually I just splurge any old nonsense on the page and let the sports editor deal with it.
This one, though, has taken a bit of thinking about.
The difficulty in doing so is I can’t fathom what it takes for someone to say these things to people they’ve never even met and know barely anything about.
A big part of that is the anonymity people are given online on social media.
It’s so easy to send horrific abuse to anybody you want on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever.
Because you can just delete your account afterwards and start a new one up.
Having grown up without it – I’d just left school when social media started up in earnest – I don’t particularly like it, I must say.
I use Twitter a fair bit but try my best to restrict that to when I am working. I find I’m a
happier person without it and that says it all really.
We’ve all said things in anger we regret.
Typing them out and firing them off like that, though, takes an extra step of thought, even for brainless morons like these perpetrators.
Football is a game filled with abuse, we all know that.
Footballers and managers are often yelling all sorts of stuff at each other on the pitch.
The same goes in the stands, when fans are allowed in anyway.
(Doesn’t happen too many times in the press box I must admit, though I’ve seen a few fall-outs.)
It’s not particularly pleasant but we accept it as the way of things, as long as the line of decency isn’t crossed.
The vast majority of it is friendly banter and I’d argue that is the bedrock of being a football supporter.
Being able to lord it over your pals because your team beat theirs is one of the purest joys in life.
I absolutely love football, it has given me a career and is a major part of my identity, just like many reading this.
But at no point do I ever think it’s anything more than a bit of a pantomime and love it for the soap opera feel it brings to real life.
But there are plenty who go too far, take the game and all that goes with it a bit too seriously.
Using family bereavement and racism to hurt someone else is way beyond the line of decency.
It is inhuman, horrific, horrendous, disgusting, despicable – whichever word you use to describe it just doesn’t feel strong enough to justify the fury right-minded people feel about this.
Dundee boss James McPake spoke very well on the subject earlier this week and I completely agree something has to be done to protect people.
Otherwise the pit of despair the world is in right now will just get worse and worse.
Dundee-bound Paul McMullan has been moved out of first-team training at Dundee United.
It’s in everybody’s interest now to speed up that move so that he arrives at Dens Park this month.
Particularly for the player.
Arabs won’t be happy to see a player moving across the street for obvious reasons.
However, I would like to see him given the credit he deserves for playing such a major role in getting the Tangerines back to the big time.
He was integral to their Championship-winning side and laid on plenty of goals in particular for Lawrence Shankland.
Now, it makes sense for the Tangerines to get a player off their wage bill they are clearly not going to use.
I think it’s a bit harsh to pull him out of the squad but I understand the decision.
From a Dundee point of view, they’d be delighted to get McMullan in this month.
However, I do know they won’t be wanting to pay a fee when they can just wait until June to get the player anyway.
They’ve been on the other side of this situation with Glen Kamara going to Rangers.
I feel a little for McMullan but he’d have known this was likely to happen as soon as he agreed to move across the road.
It’d be a shame to see a good player like him stuck in limbo for six months.
In stoppage time at Dens Park on Saturday I had already written about Dundee’s big cup shock before Jonathan Afolabi struck.
That’s the perils of on-the-whistle match reports.
It was a surprise it had taken so long for the Dark Blues to break through but I’m not shocked at how decent Bonnyrigg Rose were.
There’s a whole bunch of teams fighting it out to move up the pyramid to League Two.
Clubs in the bottom tier will be looking over their shoulder big time.
The lack of relegation for years let clubs drift and not push on.
It’s all change now and good to see.