Whistle blown on Scotland’s Shame – ‘Sectarian, discriminatory and homophobic’ posts aimed at Neil Lennon

THE whistle has been blown on Scotland’s Shame as a referee has been prevented by the Scottish FA of progressing to handle matches involving Celtic or the Rangers after his shameful sectarian social media posts relating to Neil Lennon were revealed.

The headline in the Daily Mail says it all really. “Scottish referee Stephen Brown steps down after sectarian, discriminatory and homophobic social media posts including abuse aimed at Neil Lennon emerge.”

As far as small minded, bingo bigotry goes this guy gets a full house! His name is Stephen Brown and in an exclusive by Stephen McGowan he is exposed as a shameful bigot who was NOT removed from the refereeing fraternity when his hateful posts were first discovered.

Now though Stephen Brown has stepped down after his Facebook posts from 2010 re-emerged. They have subsequently been deleted by McGowan reveals that the Daily Mail has seen them and so has the Scottish FA.

“Written shortly before the Scottish FA sacked former referees chief Hugh Dallas for forwarding an offensive email concerning the Pope, the governing body were informed of Brown’s indiscretions in 2014 and the matter was referred to the Judicial Panel,” McGowan explained.

“The independent panel issued only a censure following a disciplinary hearing and Brown’s immediate offer to resign was turned down by his local referee association. It’s understood the SFA were ‘surprised’ by the tribunal outcome but bound by the independent finding at the time.

“Progressing through the refereeing ranks the official became eligible to officiate at games involving both Celtic and Rangers when he reached Category 1 status this summer.

“But, under the governing body’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan the position of one of the rising stars of Scottish refereeing has effectively become untenable – with Chief Executive Ian Maxwell clear that the historic baggage would make it impossible for Brown to take charge of matches involving or with implications for the Old Firm (sic).”

Brown, 35, last night spoke of the shameful posts he made about Neil Lennon and accepted “full responsibility for the posts, made during a period of great personal difficulty.”

What is it about these people?

“I expressed deep regret and remorse at the time and the person I am now is unrecognisable to the person I was then. I am embarrassed by what I wrote but there were personal issues I was dealing with that, while they don’t mitigate that behaviour, explain it.

“Refereeing has given me a second chance in life and I am grateful for that opportunity. I am devastated that my actions from the past will prevent me from fulfilling my potential as a match official but appreciate that perceptions linger, regardless of how much sorrow or regret I express.”

So it appears that Scotland’s shame has one less whistler this morning. Yet these posts were apparently so offensive but he was allowed to continue? Maybe they thought that Neil Lennon brought it on himself?

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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