Friday, 17 January 2014

The 'S' Word

Soccer - Derby County Preview Day - Pride Park
Michael Johnson is a reasonably well known, though not particularly famous black footballer, who played for Birmingham City, Derby and Notts County - but Johnson's more recent claim to fame stems from his membership of the English Football Association's Inclusion Advisory Broad (IAB).

Embarrassingly for Johnson and the FA is the fact that back in 2012 Johnson refused to support the FA's anti-homophobia campaign on a high profile BBC TV programme 'The Big Questions' when he was asked by the presenter, Nicky Campbell if he would back the FA's initiative Johnson replied: 

"Because of my beliefs, because of the Bible that I read, in the Bible it does state that homosexuality is detestable unto the Lord."

But Johnson has now backed away from his comments, even though they were made only a year ago, and in a public statement Johnson now insists that his views on homosexuality have now changed.

"I was invited on to the programme in March 2012 to talk about my faith. I was not prepared for the question and it is with deep regret that I answered it in the way I did back then. It was wrong and relates to a view I no longer hold."

"I have since invested a great deal of my time and energies into re-educating myself through reading, attending workshops and entering into debates. As a result, my whole way of thinking has changed. The Inclusion Advisory Board is all about education and changing opinions and, through my own personal experience and learning, I believe I can have a positive influence on the work being done by football on this vital agenda."

Now that seemed rather odd to me because the words that Johnson spoke about the Bible are normally used by people who regard such holy books as the literal word of God - which say what they mean and mean what they say, no matter how ridiculous that sound.

So perhaps it's not surprising that Michael has decided to resign his membership of the IAB after all, which is a pity - because maybe we'll never know whether he has actually changed his opinions for the better.