Anti-racism group ‘Kick It Out‘ has criticized Wigan Athletic for prematurely hiring Malky Mackay as manager of the club before the English FA could conclude their investigation into allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist messages sent by the Scot at his previous club.
[RELATED: Wigan hire Mackay]
The 42-year-old Mackay was announced as new manager of the Championship side earlier today after Uwe Rosler was released from his duties last week. The decision by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan to hire Mackay came under immediate fire as the FA has yet to rule on allegations from last summer threatened to derail the Scottish manager’s career.
Those claim stemmed from Mackay’s time at Cardiff City, which ended in controversy last December. Six months later, the findings of an internal investigation at Cardiff were made public alleging Mackay and head of recruitment, Iain Moody, exchanged sexist, racist and homophobic slurs during the tenure at the club.
In response to Whelan’s hiring, Kick It Out made the following statement:
“Wigan Athletic have disregarded the ongoing investigation being undertaken by the FA, and any potential punishment Mackay may face, by taking the decision to appoint him,” a Kick It Out spokesman said. “We need to see leadership from club owners and a respect for the processes in place to demonstrate how seriously they are tackling issues of exclusion, prejudice and discrimination.”
[RELATED: Mackay text scandal]
In Whelan’s defense, he did contact the FA before hiring Mackay and is satisfied no substantial punishment will be handed down.
“I don’t think there is anything in the pipeline,” the Wigan chairman said. “We have put something in the contract so that the club is protected if the FA does decide to do something but I personally don’t see what there is to investigate. Malky has admitted sending the texts, and accepted he was wrong.”
A risky hire? No doubt. But it’s one Whelan has clearly evaluated and determined to be worth the cost of backlash. More problematic could be the response Whelan will receive from comments he made during an interview with the BBC on Wednesday night when he brushed off the scandal as no big deal.
“What he’s done is tiny really in real terms,” Whelan said. “We all get a name of some description and we don’t take a blind bit of notice.”
Yikes. Went a bit too far there, Dave. Hiring a man who has yet to see due process play out is one thing. But outrightly marginalizing allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist messages as being “tiny” and therefore insignificant, is just plain stupid.