Dublin’s Gavin calls for year ban for racism
Dublin manager says there is no room for such behaviour – on or off the field
Dublin manager Jim Galvin at yesterday’s press conference.
It’s not just about image, it’s about respect. And as suited Jim Gavin sits in a meeting room on the third storey of the Gibson Hotel – his back to a window that overlooks the Liffey where the East Link toll bridge is rising occasionally to allow water traffic go about its business – there is nothing but clarity when the Dublin manager addresses some unsavoury allegations that have emanated from GAA fields in recent weeks.
Allegations of spitting. Of racism. Of sledging, that term that applies to players who verbally abuse opponents. As far as Gavin, a product of a military background having spent over two decades as a pilot and instructor in the Aer Corps before moving to the Irish Aviation Authority, there is no room for such behaviour – on or off the field – in Gaelic games.
“It’s completely unacceptable. There should be zero tolerance policy on everything from that [spitting] to racial abuse to sledging,” said Gavin, who compared current behaviour with those of his own playing days.
Stand their ground
“We got up, dusted ourselves down and got on with it. And that’s what I would expect the Dublin players to do and wouldn’t expect anything else of them.
“They’d need to stand their ground, but that [behaviour] wouldn’t be in my playbook at all,” said Gavin, whose unbeaten Dublin team face Tyrone at Croke Park tomorrow in the glamour match of this round of Allianz Division One matches.
Gavin – who won an All-Ireland with Dublin in 1995 and coached two winning All-Ireland under-21s teams in 2010 and 2012 before succeeding Pat Gilroy as senior manager last October – adopts a hard stance on images which have the potential to tarnish the GAA.
“I notice this week is the Europe Against Racism week and what better time to put down a marker for trying to encourage people into the Gaelic Athletic Association and that the GAA comes to the forefront of showing zero tolerance to racism.
“What better way to bring people from different cultures and different ethnic backgrounds into Irish life? Let them become Gaels.”
In advocating “strong punitive measures” for anyone found offending, Gavin continued: “I know the GAA want to eradicate it but, to really do the right job on it, you need to have zero tolerance [for racism].
“To me, that’s a 12-month ban straight away . . . we need to address the problem and move on.”