Malky Mackay's alleged text messages sent to Iain Moody have been excused as "friendly banter" by the League Managers' Association.
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In the most ill-conceived statement since Liverpool's response to Luis Suárez's racism ban, the LMA said former Cardiff manager Mackay was "under great pressure and when he was letting off steam" when he sent the offensive messages.
"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. The precise details need to remain private for the time being until any FA process is complete."
Twitter has reacted scathingly...
Malky Mackay simply "letting off steam during some friendly text message banter". LMA statement is ill-conceived, embarrassing and offensive— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 21, 2014
"Friendly banter"? I'm surprised no one at an organisation as sharp as the LMA realises how offensive that phrase sounds in this context— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) August 21, 2014
Kick Racism Into Friendly Text Message Banter— Andrew Thomas (@andi_thomas) August 21, 2014
LMA statement on Malky Mackay: "Letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter." Beyond parody.— John Brewin (@JohnBrewinESPN) August 21, 2014
"Friendly text message banter" - Malky Mackay's 'explanation' would have David Brent squirming.— Tom English (@TomEnglishSport) August 21, 2014
'Friendly text message banter.' Wow.— Matt Lawton (@Matt_Lawton_DM) August 21, 2014
It was *just* some friendly text message banter. Doesn't have the same ring.— Mike Edwards (@_MikeEdwards) August 21, 2014
If Mackay was 'letting off steam with some friendly text banter' while using racist remarks, WTF is he like when he's pissed off?— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) August 21, 2014
LMA on Mackay: 'Friendly banter.' Utter dinosaurs.— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) August 21, 2014
So disappointed by that LMA statement re Mackay's "friendly text-message banter". The LMA are - sincerely - and have to be better than that.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) August 21, 2014
That's it..I'm done for the evening..The LMA said it better than I ever could.. They are actually being serious! Somebody drafted that..WOW!— Jason Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) August 21, 2014
Someone at the LMA has typed out that statement, sat back in his chair and gone "yep, nailed it".— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) August 21, 2014
LMA statement released on behalf of Malky Mackay is a disastrous damage limitation exercise. Does far more harm than good to it as an org— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) August 21, 2014
Missus just complained about me not making the bed this morning. Threw her out the window. Banter.— Spooky (@Spooky23) August 21, 2014
Remembering when Kenny Dalglish said Liverpool fans booing Evra was "a bit of banter". A word used to disguise and obscure many ills.— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) August 21, 2014
There is no acceptable context for the word "banter". If I could remove one word from the Oxford English it'd be that one.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) August 21, 2014
It was just banter ! pic.twitter.com/3dOlrqtOcv— Antony Bloom (@apb689908) August 21, 2014
"Banter" is definitely going to be on Newsnight and Question Time now.— Football Clichés (@FootballCliches) August 21, 2014