Rangers have issued a lengthy statement taking aim at sections of the Scottish media after police confirmed a 12-year-old boy has been charged with racially abusing Alfredo Morelos.
The Colombian forward has been a main topic of conversation for many over the last few months with a string of incidents making front and back page news.
And now the Ibrox club, who say they couldn’t comment on the case earlier at risk of compromising a police investigation, have now made it clear that they believe some of what has been written to be unacceptable and even offered to put some journalists through a course in sectarianism and racism.
They have also called the treatment of the 23-year-old “disgraceful and vulgar” and accused members of the media of “trivialising and dismissing” abusive behaviour.
In the statement released through their official website on Monday night they said: “Now that the Police have charged an individual with racially abusing Alfredo Morelos at the Old Firm game on 29 December, it is necessary to state yet again that racist abuse, indeed abuse of any form, must never be condoned or dismissed.
“What none of us should ever do, however, is dismiss, or trivialise abusive behaviour as too many media outlets, journalists, and pundits have done in this instance.
“Perhaps there might be a bout of contrition and one or two may feel a pang of guilt now that the evidence some of them so loudly demanded is there in the form of this charge.
“If enough of our media had been of a mind to treat the issue with the gravity required from the outset, as normally happens with these issues, there would have been none of the dismissive comments which have helped pollute social media, newspapers and broadcast platforms. Social media is, of course, largely lawless but some of the pieces written and broadcast around Alfredo Morelos in mainstream media were and remain disgraceful.
“He has been described as a waster, a cheat, an angry brat and one columnist/pundit actually wrote that if you can’t take the vitriol you are in the wrong city. The implication seems to be that the fault lies not with those who choose racism and abuse, but with a young immigrant who chose to come to our country. This is a deeply disturbing attitude and that it was actually expressed in a national newspaper defies belief.”
They then went on to claim that players at the centre of an abuse are treated differently in Scotland than they are in England and that Morelos is instead being “demonised”.
The statement continued: “A river of negative and hurtful attention has been flowing towards the Morelos family without thought or concern for the individuals involved and the way they have been treated is shameful.”