Updates surrounding Gordon Elliott have been in my notifications on a daily basis for almost a week now…
I didn’t intend to blog about it, although having seen several more this morning, I can’t resist any longer.
So here’s a quick one to share my personal thoughts on the situation.
That Gordon Elliott Photo…
It’s a shocker, no doubt about it. Having seen it over the weekend quite early on, like many others, I instantly assumed it was photoshopped.
However, after seeing Gordon’s statement on Sunday I was gobsmacked. The shock then turned to frustration as I fully digested the statement itself. In my opinion, it was an extremely poor and probably rushed statement that he will no doubt regret.
Of course, there is no reasonable excuse and the photo is indefensible, but I personally thought the statement of context was terrible.
What should happen?
Clearly, this kind of behaviour can’t go unpunished. Gordon’s conduct needs to be investigated thoroughly by the appropriate bodies and the yard should be subject to a thorough welfare check, potentially there should some hefty fines and a training license revoked. We aren’t in possession of all facts so I don’t feel its fair to suggest much more than that at this stage.
You have to remember; Gordon’s actions and behaviour does not necessarily reflect that of his staff, some of the most under-appreciated caring people in the industry.
Having traded horse racing for years I appreciate the animals and beauty, although cannot claim to understand how devastating this must be for those who actually care for the horses. I’m talking about the stable staff here. What have they done wrong?
Also, as Matt Chapman suggests below, I don’t believe in this trial by social media.
Everyone is appalled by the Gordon Elliott picture, but there’s no point in people denouncing the act in a way which means they themselves lose all class & decency. People take their own life over continued abuse. Seemingly justified or not, there comes a time to just hold back.
— Matt Chapman (@MCYeeehaaa) March 3, 2021
This leads me to a second point that has been frequenting my thoughts this week…
A Very Modern Circus: Social Justice
As you might expect, Betfair Paddy Power instantly dropped Gordon as one of their brand ambassadors.
“While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.
“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”
Ditching Mr Elliott was the right option, although I’m not so sure about puffing their chest out about morals and brand values were needed.
A short memory maybe…
In my FB memories today, a throwback to when I went to Wembley for the football and Paddy Power had a stand outside the ground where you could have your picture taken with people of different ethnic backgrounds, and a woman in a wheelchair. Imagine the ideas that didn’t make it. pic.twitter.com/qy6RonsVpd
— Stefan Pape (@stefanpape29) March 3, 2021
They weren’t alone though, much of the industry has been pumping this story for their own financial gain all week.
Dan Skelton was very keen to tell everyone he “struggles for words” (in association with the Racing Post and Ladbrokes-Coral branding).
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) March 1, 2021
I’m surprised they didn’t slam a sign-up link and free bet in with the tweet description.
No doubt the Racing Post will be back to headlines with “the industry needs to clean up its image” next week.
So what’s my point here?
Yes, the photo is disgusting and there needs to be a thorough investigation with the appropriate consequences.
It needs to be done properly, thoroughly and with full context. Not this social media witchhunt where people are able to abuse others under an anonymous alias, release information without context and facts whilst remaining 100% irresponsible for what they are doing.
I’ve seen many talking about Mr Elliott having a lack of respect for the horse, whilst simultaneously posting the photo to incite further hate, or gather clicks for advertising.
What about respect for the stable staff that presumably cared for this animal? No doubt their lives are in turmoil too right now through no fault of their own.
I know that social justice warriors are a very modern problem but if people want the “industries image” to perk up they need to have a word with themselves and stop being hypocrites.