Crystal Palace started its EPL season in the midst of a managerial crisis. This week, in the process of trying to fix that, the club has entered into a full-blown controversy.
The story involves alleged racist, homophobic, and sexist remarks, arguments over transfer policy and a police raid for emails and text messages, and it reached peak ridiculousness with today's completely tone-deaf apology.
Let's recap the events of the past few weeks:
Thanks to a disagreement over transfer policy, Crystal Palace and manager Tony Pulis parted ways by mutual consent, just two days before the club opened its EPL season at Arsenal. The man Palace wanted to replace him was former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay. The deal seemed like a win-win -- Palace would get a manager with EPL experience, and Mackay would be reunited with Palace's Director of Football Iain Moody (the pair previously worked together at Cardiff City). An announcement was expected to take place by the middle of this week.
Then, all of a sudden, Crystal Palace announced it would not hire Mackay yesterday. The reason? Allegations of misconduct from Mackay's former club, Cardiff City. The details of those allegations center around a bunch of texts exchanged between Mackay and Moody while at Cardiff City, which were obtained in a raid on Moody's home (yes, a raid.)
• In July 2012, Cardiff signed South Korean international Kim Bo-kyung, but when Moody informed Mackay on July 12 that ‘five of the b******s including the player’ were arriving for talks, the reply from Mackay’s phone was: ‘Fkn chin*ys.’ A further message says: ‘Fk it. There’s enough dogs in Cardiff for us all to go around.’
• In reference to the prominent football agent, Phil Smith, a text states: ‘Go on, fat Phil. Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers’. The Israeli club, Maccabi Tel Aviv, are also referred to simply as ‘the Jews’.
• A football official at another club is referred to as ‘a gay snake’ and ‘the homo’ and someone who is ‘not to be trusted’, while a French player is someone ‘who struck me as an independently minded young homo’.
• An exchange with a young player who has a female agent makes reference to a sex act and states: ‘I hope she’s looking after your needs,’ the player is then told. ‘I bet you’d love a bounce on her falsies.’
• On August 16, 2012, a list of players proposed by a French agent is forwarded, stating to Mackay that ‘he needs to rename his agency the All Blacks’. A separate text in reference to a list of French players states: ‘Not many white faces amongst that lot but worth considering.’
• In a separate exchange a picture entitled ‘Black Monopoly’ is sent, with every square a ‘Go To Jail’ square. Of one African player, it is stated: ‘Doesn’t look like a good cv. And he’s Nigerian.’
Yikes. Now, keep in mind these details are from the Daily Mail, which is a UK tabloid, so a bit of skepticism is necessary. But if Cardiff's allegations are really so off-base, then why did Moody resign from his post at Crystal Palace today? And why did Mackay issue this apology, via the League Manager's Association?
"In the course of a search by the Club in early 2014 of 10,000 private text messages sent to and from another member of staff during Mr Mackay’s employment at Cardiff, in relation to other matters, it emerged that Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures. These were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter. That said, Malky believes he could and should have conducted himself better on these two isolated occasions."
"Banter," eh? Really solid excuse there, Malky. Read the full statement here.
Mackay was fired by Cardiff City just halfway through last season, and initially he threatened legal action against Cardiff's owner Vincent Tan. Then he dropped all legal proceedings and apologized to Tan months later. Could be related, could not. But the timing works out.
In the meantime, Crystal Palace still don't have a manager, and are now without a Director of Football as well. Something tells me they'll be doing pretty thorough background checks this time.