I’m not quite sure why newspapers are devoting so many column inches to the news that Surrey and England wicket-keeper Stephen Davies has announced that he is gay.
Such a revelation back in the 1950s or 60s, and certainly pre-war would have been astonishing, but surely such news in 2011 is not worthy of the coverage? While Davies is the first cricketer to ‘come out’ he is almost certainly not the first and nor will he be the last.
It really doesn’t matter and why should it? Any player should be judged on his contribution to the team and not by any other criterion and I wouldn’t be remotely bothered if the entire Derbyshire squad was gay – which they’re not, I should add…
My only concern now is that any non-selection of the player for representative honours isn’t automatically deemed a consequence of this revelation. It won’t, or shouldn’t be, but there are always those who jump on a bandwagon. I was once accused of being racist when I didn’t pick a player of ethnic background for a particular game. It was nonsense, and the reasons he wasn’t picked were that he was the weakest player of those available for a big game, was working and couldn’t make the start of the match and was the thirteenth player to confirm availability for a team of eleven.
Stephen Davies is to be applauded for his stance and I suspect and hope that he will get a better deal from spectators and supporters than a footballer might do in similar circumstances, certainly on message/bulletin boards. Steve James wrote today that the main problem may come in T20 matches, when spectators are a different breed to the regular cricket crowd. For everyone's sake, I hope that he is wrong and that people are understanding.
Speaking of message boards, the demise of 606 from the end of the football season will be met with few tears from my house. Regular readers will know that I’m less than impressed by its inability to differentiate between banter, banality and libellous comment. For too long it has been home to many a miscreant who is happy to spew vitriol in any direction he chooses from the ’anonymity’ of a computer. John Morris has suffered in the past, as have most managers and sports supremos, as everyone thinks they could do a far better job and tolerance of failure appears non-existent.
It's not my bag, baby. I’m all for open comment as long as it is fair and doesn’t overstep the mark. Criticism is acceptable, as long as it is even-handed and again, fair. 606 for too long has stepped gingerly on the boundary of legality, such as when a Northamptonshire follower suggested nefarious goings on when Essex beat us at Derby at the end of 2009. Similarly, there are people currently calling for the head of Nigel Clough who were prepared to deify the man before Christmas. As Gordon Strachan wrote in a newspaper up here a couple of weeks back, such people are probably the ones shaking his hand and impressing their mates with the tales of how they know him before going home and slating him.
It is unfair to tar all correspondents with the same brush and there have been and are some fair-minded and worthy contributors. Yet they have been swamped in a mire of mediocrity that seldom rises higher than ‘mine’s bigger/better/nicer than yours,’ coupled with humour that rarely rises higher than the playground.
As for how it will affect Derbyshire, the answer is very little. We have the excellent In Morris We Trust, which is open to all fans as long as their goal rises above character assassination and libel. You’re also welcome to comment on any of the articles on this blog by simply opening a free Google account.
In other news, Glamorgan have announced a loss of £366,000, while Leicestershire's attempt to sign Richie Berrington has failed after he opted to stay with the Scottish Saltires. I hope I'm wrong but I think the Scots all-rounder is in danger of missing the boat in his loyalty to his adopted homeland. Several sides wanted him for trials last year when he was in a hot streak of form, yet he put it off and ran out of steam. He is a player of talent, but is only going to flourish by making a commitment to play at a higher level.
In closing, and in answer to a regular contributor to comments, I haven't a clue when the membership cards will be out, but it will be before the season starts, so don't worry!
PS The World Cup? India v England apart it has been dull and once again organisers are sacrificing quality for quantity. The associate nations are like the minnows in the FA Cup. They can raise their game for one, maybe two matches, but over a long haul they'll be shown up for what they are - second class players.
Hopefully it will pick up when the real action starts