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'I would welcome Confederate flag removal as I think most self-aware Cork fans would'

The murder of nine black churchgoers in the US city of Charleston last month has sparked a major ...



'I would welcome Confedera...
Football

'I would welcome Confederate flag removal as I think most self-aware Cork fans would'

The murder of nine black churchgoers in the US city of Charleston last month has sparked a major debate about the place of the Confederate Flag in both society and sport on the other side of the Atlantic.

But it has also been felt in the GAA given that the flag is a regular sight at Cork GAA matches due to its rebel connotations.

However, due to its symbolic links to slavery and racism in the US, there are calls for it to be banned from GAA grounds with Sport Against Racism Ireland's international and educational officer Ken McCue making that very point.

It is a subject we wanted to delve into on Off The Ball tonight and we were joined by Cork man Gary Murphy, who is a professor of political science at DCU, and ESPN contributor Professor Kevin P Blackistone to debate the issue.

"I'm not convinced that anyone is bringing the flag to show some sort of sympathy with the Confederate cause. Professor Blackistone could talk about the history of the flag, but at it's heart it's a flag of rebellion so I can well imagine people wandering into shops in Cork or online and ordering a flag associated with a rebel act. But I'm not convinced at all that there is any significance beyond that," said Murphy.

 

Blackistone spoke about the resonance of the flag from its roots to its effects today in sport and wider society as a symbol of discrimination.

"It's part of the ugliest heritage this country has ever had and it's been defeated," he explained

And although policing it may be difficult, Murphy also said that it's time for the flag to disappear from the stands given its history: "I certainly wouldn't be comfortable waving a Confederate flag and I don't think Cork fans would be either, to be fair. I would be happy to see the Confederate flag removed from Cork games.

"I would welcome its removal as I think most self-aware Cork fans would." 

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