"Least I could do"; Former Celtic captain explains award-nominated gesture

By Euan Davidson

November 24, 2021

Former Celtic captain Scott Brown admits he has some complex feelings about being nominated for a FIFA Fair Play Award.

Before a Glasgow Derby at Parkhead in March, Brown approached Glen Kamara to offer support. Kamara had just been racially abused playing Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, in appalling scenes during the UEFA Europa League.

The abuse levelled at Kamara became a huge footballing story. And Brown, without prompting, approached the Rangers midfielder to show solidarity and support beyond the confines of football rivalry.

Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images

As reported yesterday, Scott Brown is nominated for FIFA honours alongside the Denmark players and staff, who are likely winners. While Broony, now at Aberdeen, is flattered and humbled, he’s explained that it’s something he’d hope anyone would’ve done.

The Celtic legend, now at Aberdeen, said [Daily Record]:

“I’m obviously very humbled to be nominated for such an award but, if truth be told, I’m also a little bit embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as the guys from Denmark.

“Let’s get it right, all I did was show my respect and support to an opponent who had been disgracefully abused just a few days earlier. I was sickened by the incident so shaking his hand was the least I could do.

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“It was nothing more than a bit of human decency for someone who deserved to know we were all on his side.

“But the Danish lads were staring catastrophe in the face on that day in Copenhagen. What they did went way above an act of decency, it was truly heroic. Let’s just say, if I had a vote, I’d be giving it to all of them.

“And, as for Glen, I just hope he is never subjected to anything like that ever again.”

Former Celtic captain Scott Brown deserves his props from FIFA, but complicated feelings are understandable

You can get where he’s coming from here.

It’s not to downplay the moment, at all. But there’s something innately depressing about it. Of course Scott Brown, a very decent human being, would want to show his support to a player who’d been racially abused. We should all be anti-racist, in private and in public, as a default position.

Broony is someone who enjoys the spotlight as a player, but you can sense that coverage beyond that is something he’s a little uncomfortable with. Especially in the context of an award.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It feels odd, in a way, to have a voting system involved for something like this. “Your act was a moral success, but not as good as this other one” isn’t really how appreciation works.

If FIFA want to encourage moments of solidarity and compassion, surely it’d make more sense just to hand out multiple awards. It wouldn’t diminish anything whatsoever.

For Brown, it was just a case of being a decent guy. For all his antics on the pitch can rub rivals the wrong way, he’s never seemed like anything other than a good person off it.

We could all learn from it. But having that moment in the context of a vote? It’s bound to make the participants feel uncomfortable. Not only that, it’ll attract ire from folk, because that’s the nature of social media.

What he said last here was the most important thing. It should never happen again. On a football pitch, anywhere.

Read more: Report: Rivals embarrassingly show their Celtic pettiness again with BT Sport