Tyson Fury's misogynistic and homophobic remarks have been well-documented this week. There have been numerous calls for him to be removed from The BBC's Sports Personality of the Year shortlist. The BBC acknowledged the complaints but stood by their decision to nominate Fury and in a further disappointing act of tolerance suspended a journalist who tackled his comments online.
I believe in free speech and uphold Fury's right to say what he wants. I am less supportive of a public-funded body who choose to reinforce hate-filled views via an awards nomination but I am glad I have a right to respond.
I consider one of the defining markers of masculinity to be how you use your position of privilege to speak up for those who society deem as weaker. Also, you should use your muscle to support others who are less fortunate and protect those who regularly come under attack. Using your position of authority to spread hate and create divide is a cruel and cowardly act. When you see oppression and bullying, you should fight it. To not do so exposes a massive chink in your machismo.
If, like Fury, you justify hate with your restrictive religious upbringing, you are only compounding your feebleness. As a grown man you should be challenging interpretations of ages-old convention, especially if it's being used to oppress people.
Any man reading this should be aware they are part of the gender which is overwhelmingly responsible for violence and crime. We are a scary bunch. Many of you will automatically be thinking 'but I'm not that kind of man'. It's fine, I believe you but you need to know you can still come across as such. I'm a big softie, I foster homeless cats and I sometimes cry when they get adopted but I'm aware this aspect of me is irrelevant when I walk down a dark street at night. I completely understand why some women cross the road when they see me coming. Like many men, I'm big, powerfully-built and come equipped with an entitlement which a significant number of my gender have chosen to use for violence and intimidation. That's not terribly good for the male brand. I am viewed as potentially problematic. This doesn't sit well with me but I have to weigh it up with the advantages: People listen to me, I am taken seriously and I can pull rank as I recently exercised at a concert when two guys started fighting and ignored the female usher trying to split them up.
So all you nice men reading this have a choice. If you want people to stop instinctively lumping you in with the deadbeats and predators you need to be way more vocal in your opposition. When you see a less-nice man venting hate, you need to speak up. Regardless of how brilliant Tyson Fury is as a boxer, supporting him is supporting a man with a twisted disrespect for women and gay people. Even if you don't support him, not contesting him is an act of tolerance. You should be sending out a very definite message that you oppose his backdated hate-filled rhetoric.
Violence and willful intimidation should not be synonymous with being a man. If someone is displaying bigoted bravado, he is not being a lad, he's being a bigot. It's fairly simple. We shouldn't tolerate cowards who are steeped in insecurity like Fury, they contribute to the idea that men should be feared. Real men aren't backward-thinking knuckleheads who spread hate about oppressed sections of society. Real men are strong and confident and call out the weaker members of our gender for their ignorant beliefs.
Fury's fellow SPOTY nominee, Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Rutherford made a stand where the BBC frustratingly stalled. He made it clear he was at odds with Fury's 'outdated and derogatory' comments. A very sporting personality indeed but there are 7 other men on the shortlist (along with 3 women) who have stayed tight-lipped on the subject. It is only when more men speak out against dangerous idiots like Fury that organizations like the BBC will stop bestowing them with accolades. By staying silent you are part of the problem.