SCOTTISH football is a ridiculous world. In a Rod Stewart cup draw, Kingsley and ‘Spaghettihad’ sense that’s a good thing. When it comes to more serious issues, it frequently holds us back and embarrasses us.

It’s a sad indictment on Scottish football that we’ve had enough high-profile instances of racism or bigotry to be able to accurately predict what the fallout is going to be. Whataboutery, bothsidesism, point-scoring, deflection. To that list, we can add ‘Underqualified people making it worse on the radio’.

I’m writing this around 48 hours after the footage emerged of Rangers supporters singing racist songs and making racist gestures, both directed at Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi. The debate since then has been as flawed as it has been depressing, and some of the most absurd responses came on Monday night’s Scottish football radio shows.

On Radio Clyde’s Superscoreboard, Hugh Keevins inexplicably claimed “We really didn’t practice racism 60 years ago” and “60 years ago, racism was not the problem that it is now”. Host Gordon Duncan did an admirable job of pulling him up and challenging him, where hosts on other shows might have laughed nervously or moved on in a hurry.

I’ve listened to Keevins’ comments several times and still can’t work out what he was getting at. There were fewer minorities in Scotland 60 years ago so there were fewer people to be racist to, and therefore less racism? You couldn’t upload racist videos to social media in 1961 so you didn’t see as many examples of racism, and therefore if you weren’t seeing it that means it wasn’t happening?

Of course, racism remains a huge problem in 2021, with Sunday’s video just the latest in a shameful summer as far as racist abuse in British football goes. The idea that racism in 1961 was “not the problem that it is now”, however, requires only the most cursory of Wikipedia browses to debunk.

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Indeed, racism in Scotland goes a lot further back than 60 years. If Keevins heads into Glasgow city centre after his next Superscoreboard recording, he’ll see signs reading ‘Buchanan Street’, ‘Ingram Street’ and ‘Jamaica Street’. If you already know where they and several other nearby streets got their names from, you’ll know racism in Scotland is far from a modern invention.

On Tuesday afternoon, Keevins tweeted: “I’ve had a chance to listen back to last night’s show and on reflection I’d like to apologise for some of the comments that I made. It was not my intention to cause any offence or upset. I abhor racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry”.

This was important. With a large platform and access to ‘block’ and ‘mute’ buttons, it would be easy for someone being accused of making ignorant comments to ignore the feedback or even double down.

Keevins reflected on his mistake and took ownership of it. While that doesn’t excuse the comments or earn him a pass, it shows maturity and decency on his part. As a man in his seventies (and I’m aware of how patronising this sounds), it’s refreshing to see him actually admit he got it wrong after being challenged on his language around race.

It shouldn’t have come to that, though, and nor should another programme on the same night have involved Charlie Adam talking about ‘Charlie Adam’s Sister’s Pants’ in a discussion about racism.

On BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound, Adam talked about how the song had been sung in recent weeks by fans of Celtic and Hibs, with his sister and two nephews in the crowd on the latter occasion.

He went on to say: “So at times, I understand for Furuhashi it’s disgusting what’s happened, but other clubs have got to look at themselves as well. Their supporters are letting themselves down, and they’re big clubs, and they’re letting people down by the songs that they sing on the terraces”.

Now, whatever you may think of a song entitled ‘Charlie Adam’s Sister’s Pants’, it has absolutely nothing to do with racism. The appropriate reaction is ‘I understand for Furuhashi it’s disgusting what’s happened’, and then a full stop. There’s no need for a ‘but’ at the end of it.

Adam’s perfectly entitled to be furious about the song. If any of us heard one person singing something like that about a family member we would be absolutely livid, never mind thousands of people singing it with said family member in attendance.

It’s just not relevant, though, is it?

There’s a real discussion to be had about when the line from ‘banter’ to ‘abuse’ is crossed, and in that context, Adam’s testimony is not only appropriate but important. No one can begrudge Adam talking about the impact that song has had on him and his family, but that complaint belongs in another conversation about abuse directed at players during matches, or the treatment of women within football.

Context is vital when talking about racism. If you’re discussing a specific racist incident, you can’t say ‘But what about this non-racist thing?’. It’s not the time to make it about yourself. Unless you’ve also been subjected to racist abuse, your personal experiences in other areas are not what the discussion should be about.

While Keevins showed contrition, Adam doubled down. He was tagged in a tweet that read: “Imagine thinking that was an appropriate time to mention the abuse you received at Celtic Park. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to complain about it, and I have sympathy for your family being present at the game, but imagine thinking that was the time”.

There were abusive tweets directed at Adam this week, but this wasn’t one of them. It was measured, coherent and fair.

In response, Adam said: “Absolutely it was the right time. What was said about Kyogo was disgusting but I won’t accept my family members being abused the way it happened at Celtic Park and yesterday’s match. I can take the abuse but I’ll stand by my family members not listening to it”.

There’s missing the point and then there’s that.

No one is telling Adam to accept his family members being abused, and the tweet he’s replying to explicitly says he has a right to complain about it. The point is the context of Adam’s comments, not the content.

No one’s expecting Charlie Adam or Hugh Keevins to be experts on the subject of racism. There needs to be someone in the room who can speak with authority. That could be an academic who has studied racism and can put it in context, or someone who has been on the receiving end of it and can explain its impact.

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It’s important that we educate ourselves, but it’s also important that we accept there are some areas in which we’re simply not qualified to broadcast our opinions on the radio. I’ve been on morning radio a few times to discuss various issues, but I’ve also turned it down whenever the debate has been something I felt I couldn’t make a worthwhile contribution to.

If you go on national radio and attempt to bluff your way through a serious debate, you run the risk of making yourself look silly and, more importantly, undermining serious discussion. Even with good intentions, you might ultimately do more harm than good.

If Charlie Adam or Hugh Keevins said ‘This was shameful and these racists are a stain on society, but it’s not an area in which I’m particularly qualified to speak so I don’t think I’m the right person for an extensive discussion’, I wouldn’t criticise them for saying so. It would be helpful for more people to cede the podium to someone more qualified.

If, say, an academic or historian with a relevant specialism was on Monday night’s Sportsound in Adam’s place, we would have been spared the comparison between blatant racism and a song about a footballer’s sister’s pants.

We owe the victims of racism a more thoughtful and informed response.

Our first reaction should be outright condemnation, without factoring the particular club the victim plays for or unrelated personal experiences into our response. The next step is to listen, read and educate ourselves.

When we’re looking for guests to talk about racism in significant detail, sideline the football people and amplify voices that have earned the right to be heard when it comes to such serious issues.

Either you want a more constructive discussion, or you’re fine with a world where we’re only ever one dehydrated footballer away from Kris Boyd’s take on global warming.