Crime and Referee Abuse: The evolution of a problem
I have always believed that nearly all crime or similar problems evolve from something in our early development and addressing this early can prevent them from becoming a much bigger problem in the future. This true story justifies that thought process in my opinion.
This is a true story about a young lad, I will call him Jack, that I grew up with on the rough streets of Liverpool in the late 70s early 80s.
Jack was the typical lad around our estate and he was always up to some sort of mischief. He was a “looker” and girls were never too far behind “Handsome Jack”.
At around the age of twelve he was taking the logos off the back of cars with a flat screw driver. Younger readers may not be aware but the signs on the back of cars back then were made of a heavy cast metal that was fixed to the car with prongs that secured themselves to the car boot via a plastic socket. The most sought-after car logos were the Volkswagen logo as made famous by the Beastie Boys who wore them around their necks, attached to rather big chains. Other logos were Ford, Vauxhall and weirdly enough Datsun, a very famous Japanese brand back then (now Nissan).
Jack would take his haul home and proudly nail them to his bedroom door as some sort of street bounty. There were no questions asked from his parents or other siblings as to where his shiny bounty had been harvested. His parents were far too busy working all the hours god sent and his siblings were listening to ABBA or had a similar bounty already nailed to their doors to show any interest.
With the same flat screw driver Jack eventually would try to open the boot of the cars and it soon became apparent that when he successfully opened the boot the bounty inside of tools and toys, all could be sold for cash on the local black market to fences who would then sell it on for a profit.
Jack soon evolved his practises to see if he could open the driver’s door of the cars and thus his bounty increased to the car stereo and contents of the glove compartment.
At the age of fourteen Jack was hotwiring the car and would drive around his bounty to the fences who would often buy the car off him to use for all sorts of dodgy dealings.
This tale ends with a Jack now just 16, driving a mini into a brick wall resulting in him receiving life changing injuries that not only put an end to his awful automobile antics but also his ability to walk.
I want to bring you back to the first paragraph of this story, where I said that I believe every crime evolves from something. If only his parents or siblings recognised that this could evolve into a much bigger problem, he may be walking today and still be as handsome as he was at twelve.
I am sure you are thinking “how does this relate to Referee abuse” It’s a fair question so let me explain.
Almost every week we all accept some sort of abuse, be it a comment such as “There are two teams out here today ref” or “are you having a laugh ref” If left unaddressed this evolves into much more harsher criticism and verbal abuse with Anglo Saxon expletives sprinkled around for good effect. Other Examples are social media account of clubs and managers who regularly think refs are fair game for ridiculous statements such as “You knocked us out of the cup” or some vague accusation that we are cheats or worse.
This is where I feel we are at the “taking the logo off the back of the car” stage and left unaddressed evolves into threats of violence. The “opening of the boot to seek its bounty” is the part were we ignore comments from managers and club staff after or during the game when they make some not so cryptic dig about your performance which cost them the game. The “car stereo stage” is the part where we are threatened after the game. This normally occurs in the car park or as we walk out of the bar having finished of our sausage and chips.
The physical violence and assaults is the “stealing the entire car” stage. It’s too late now as all the other stages have been ignored or not punished strongly enough when they are reported resulting in the inevitable car crash.
All the crimes mentioned here are awful and I would not for one moment condone any of them. I do however; hope that as a reader of this you can see that the point is: if we keep allowing abuse in all its horrible forms to go unadressed the approaching car crash could involve you. #lovethewhistle