Millwall chairman questions Sky Sports News documentary

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

MILLWALL chairman John Berylson has admitted recent negative coverage of the club in the press has "become soul destroying."

However, the American has criticised the Sky Sports News documentary into racism in football that prompted a media storm last week and led to the arrest of a 53-year-old season-ticket holder.

A man from Enfield has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after he was filmed shouting racist abuse at Leeds United striker El Hadji Diouf at The Den last November.

But Berylson, writing in his programme notes prior to the home against Peterborough, claimed the majority of supporters had been "tarred with the same brush" as the individuals in the programme.

Berylson said: "What have we been found guilty of? Failing to hear one individual in particular, and possibly a small group of half a dozen in a racous 13,117-crowd, utter unacceptable racist abuse.

"I acknowledge one or six is too many, but 13,111 others had no part in this and have been tarred with the same brush. Can we do better in that respect in the future?

"We certainly have to try and that goes for all of us; club staff, officials, stewards, police, players and yes – fans. But racism is not a Millwall problem, it's not a football problem.

"Racism is a problem, albeit a significantly smaller one that ten or 20 years ago, for society at large. As a predecessor of mine said, 'Millwall is a convenient coatpeg for football to hang its social ills on.'

He added: "As a club we will continue to play our part in tackling the issue of racism as we have been at the forefront of doing for many years.

"In return I believe we have a right to expect from our media some balance in reporting this issue.

"It is hard to credit that a three-month investigation into racism in football from the Premier League to non-league, only managed to come up with two examples at Millwall and one at Burnley.

"No evidence of racism at any of the 20 Premier League clubs with the huge numbers who attend those matches beggards belief doesn't it?"

Berylson also queried whether the team of reporters behind the Sky Sports News report had acted responsibly, suggesting they should have handed over their footage to the police sooner.

He said: "In accepting that everyone in football has a share of the responsibility for cleaning up our game, where does the media fit into the picture?

"Are they not partners with a degree of responsibility of their own? Is it enough for them to shine a light into the dark corners of our game or society from the sidelines?

"Or should they be involved, getting their hands dirty with us, to ensure the game to which so many of their numbers owe their living, is a good news story which attracts followers in greater number?

"Sky had the resources and technology at their disposal to get the evidence which they sat on for three months for the purposes of making their programme.

"Could they not have made this available to the police and the club to speed up the judicial process and made a programme explaining how they worked in partnership with others to tackle racism?

"Just a thought."

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)

11 thoughts on “Millwall chairman questions Sky Sports News documentary

  • February 20, 2013 at 08:03
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    Fair play , good strong statement. Maybe JB should give a team talk.

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  • February 20, 2013 at 08:50
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    I wrote and asked the Met why no action had been taken against Sky for failing to report a crime for three months. They said there was no requirement for them to report it. I must remember that the next time I see an old lady get mugged.
    Perhaps now, after last night's fiasco, JB's time would be better spent sorting out his manager and team.

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    • February 20, 2013 at 11:38
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      Thought 'withholding evidence' was a criminal offense

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      • February 20, 2013 at 12:42
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        "There is no legal obligation on Sky Television to have reported the racially aggravated public order offences to us or to have cooperated without a production order issued by court."
        The words of DCI Andy Barnes Met Police Public Order Division. Cut and pasted from an e-mail.

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  • Pingback: In Focus : Racism in football. Millwall chairman criticises controversial Sky Sports report. « Up The Junction

  • February 20, 2013 at 10:23
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    Sky may well have been at grounds up and down the country for around a 3 month period but failed to mention the Premiership Chelsea fan pictured in the Telegraph making a monkey gesture at Man Utd's Danny Welbeck as recently as Oct 31 2012, or the 2 incidents at Premiership Anfield when a Liverpool fan made a racist remark towards Oldham's Tom Adeyemi in an FA Cup Match in Jan 2012 and at another match soon after at Anfield another fan was pictured making a monkey gesture and hurling racist abuse at Man Utd Patrice Evra also in Jan 2012. At another game in March 2012 at Derby a fan was found to be racially abusing Stoke's Cameron Jerome, was this mentioned in the programme, er nope. In another incident at Derby's ground, another Derby fan was found racially abusing then Derby player Nathan Tyson and Birminghams Marlon King as recently as 24 November 2012, was this mentioned in the sky programme nope and so the list can be added to but its us at Good old Millwall that take the brunt of it as always, if it was not for the money I would tell sky where to go when they want to put a match at The Den on tv.

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  • February 20, 2013 at 10:34
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    I wonder how obvious the filming kit was, I know they make tiny surveillance cameras these days but could they have been spotted by security? It's tough to blame security and I doubt anyone will be impressed by being asked to take their hats off for inspection, but I can tell you two corners of the Den where I would expect future sneaks to place themselves.

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  • February 20, 2013 at 12:43
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    So the chelsea fan that was doin monkey actions at the players and was caught on normal film,(not secret recording) nothing happened to him or the club, 1 rule for 1 team and 1 rule for the rest, anyway jb we got bigger problems!! He needs to stop talkin bout this and start talkin to the team/management about how shockin we been recently...

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  • February 20, 2013 at 19:40
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    said before but comments were removed just seems funny out of all the seats in this ground a cheap shot sky reporter just happens to be secret filming seated 4 away from racist chanting set up or not

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    • February 21, 2013 at 12:32
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      I think they knew where to sit and film dave, sordell was behind the report and probably told them that was the part of the ground he got the "racist abuse" from, and to be honest the SEASON ticket holder who got filmed did not do it as a one off, no way can someone scream and shout like he did and not do it every week. Don't get me wrong I'm not the a******* who wants the club to get in trouble mate I actually don't agree with any of it the racism, the report and the blame we get.

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  • February 22, 2013 at 10:57
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    Well believe it or not I heard it again on Tuesday not sure who said it as it came from behind me in the upper west after Posh scored their second goal some one shouted once N- - - - r to Beini Afobe. If I find out who it is I will give him fair warning ...... Then well chuck him over the top .

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