They are the perpetrators! You are not going to change my opinion on this. -Steven Cohen
Steven has made much of his right to express his opinion. We'll let him speak for himself. Here are a small sampling of his numerous disgusting remarks. As you can see this isn't a one off incident, its a series of statements he's made. His statements rely on three easily disproven errors of fact, that ticketless fans were a cause of the incident, that Hillsborough and Heysel are related incidents, and that Liverpool supporters exercised influence, through the Hillsborough Campaign, to hide the truth.
He has been taken to task so much on the ticketless fan issue that his assignment of contributory negligence, and estimate of the numbers of ticketless fans has shifted around at various times, ranging from a single ticketless fan's partial responsibility, to characterising the supporters as wholly responsible perpetrators. This shifting verbage exposes his argument as rooted in prejudice rather than fact. This prejudice prevents him from being open minded to all factual evidence on the matter, and compels him to continuously bring the issue up, unprompted or prompted.
Let's begin with the meager public apology he offered in 2006 to remarks on December 5, 2006 on his Fox Football Fone-In show referring to the disaster and stating how Liverpool fans had “directly caused” and continuing “there’s a disgusting side of Liverpool’s history that I’ll be happy to talk about.” ALL of the other statements made occured after this apology, and the apology wasn't directed toward the victims. He proves by all these subsequent statements how hollow this apology really was. A similar pattern is repeated with his most recent apology, which was even more guarded and does not make any reference to the victims.
A Chronology of Steven's Remarks:
Prejudiced Vitriol Bereft of Supportive Evidence, Bookended by Hollow Apologies.
December 12, 2006, Fox Football Fone-In. Steven apologizes (but not for spreading lies, and not to the victims)
“Last week here on Fox Football Fone-in, in the heat of the moment, I made some very disparaging remarks about Liverpool Football Club and their supporters. I know that I'm a passionate Chelsea fan …. I also know that when I'm wound up over comments against Chelsea, like many fans, I resort to insults that can be very hurtful. As a broadcast professional I should know better and not let it get to this stage. I’ve apologized on my radio show World Soccer Daily and I’ve also apologized to the management here at Fox Soccer Channel. But most importantly I wish to apologize to all our viewers.”
April 16, 2007, World Soccer Daily (on the possibility of a Champions League final between Liverpool and Manchester United)
"I'm going to say, I'm going to say, in my opinion, you know, the same kind of stuff as Hillsborough, where it wasn't the people inside the stadium that were causing trouble, it was the people outside the stadium that were trying to get into the stadium, who were eventually let into the stadium that caused the trouble."
"The possibility of fans attempting to gain entry without tickets or with forgeries contributing to the disaster was also suggested. South Yorkshire Police also suggested that the late arrival of fans amounted to a conspiracy in order to gain entry without tickets. However, analysis of the electronic monitoring system, Health and Safety Executive analysis and eyewitness accounts showed that the total number of people who had already entered the Leppings Lane End was far below the capacity of the stand. Additionally, eye witness reports suggested that tickets were easily available on the day of the game, and that tickets for the Leppings Lane End were still on sale from Anfield until the day before the game. The report dismissed the conspiracy theory." (Wikipedia)
It is a fact that the stadium was not at capacity, as the police had not directed the supporters into the side pens. Instead, they were caged into the two overfull central pens. This simple fact plainly refutes the influence of ticketless fans.
May 6, 2008, by email
".... without going into to many details, because God I wouldn't want to endure the wrath of the Hillsborough Justice Group, I still think they are responsible for the two greatest tragedies that have befallen English football"
May 7, 2008, by email
"...most normal people who are not swayed by the flags and the emotion of Liverpool recognize deep down that the responsibility lies with the fans of the club."
Quite the reverse is true. Most in the UK have a much more thorough understanding of the event than Steven Cohen appears to, are appropriately sympathetic to the survivors and respectful of the dead. They also understand that the cause of the accident was a failure in crowd control, not the supporters, who improvised some of the crowd control and emergency responses so lacking by the police. Supporters as best as they could passed those in most need of help over their heads and over the front fences onto the pitch, and supporters in the upper tier pulled up those trapped in the crush below. Supporters also helped ferry the dead and dying on stretchers.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister recently commented as follows:
"I think that the families, in trying to cope with this disaster, have had the support of all decent minded people across the country. I think that's probably what matters most: that people understood that the behavior of Liverpool fans in helping each other was, as I think the judge said 'Magnificent'; that it was wrong for people to blame, as some did, Liverpool fans on that day and it's right that the Freedom of the City has been given to the families of Liverpool fans on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of this disaster."
Oct 27, 2008, World Soccer Daily (discussing a recent pub event)
Co host: "All chelsea fans was it?"
Steven Cohen: "No, no, no, no loads of liverpool. I mean, I was trying to, I was s-singing to them, I was singing to them (singing) 'murderers'. They didn't even know what I was talking about! (laughs). "
Feb 20, 2009, World Soccer Daily
Steven Cohen: "I want to say, and I want to get this correct, what is the difference between a cow and a tragedy? Liverpool fans can only milk the cow for so long. And here is th-the...
Cohost: Why... why are we... what is the reference?
Steven Cohen: Here is the bloody reference. Liverpool want to change the return leg of their game against Real Madrid.
Cohost: To honor dead people, is that a problem?
Steven Cohen: To change the date, what do you mean, to honour dead people? Fine, honor the dead people.
Cohost: They want to have a commemorative ceremony.
Steven Cohen: No they don't. They want to move the date so it doesn't coincide with the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough. How about you just go ahead and beat Madrid and go through to the quarter finals and call it a day?
Cohost: No, let's move on.
Steven Cohen: No, I'm not going to move on. (laughs)
Cohost: (laughs) this is rubbish.
Steven Cohen: Here's the thing. Not only is this is a tragedy, it's a tragedy of their own doing! They've done brilliantly with this, with the Heysels and the Hillsboroughs, they've done brilliantly, they have taken events that they were solely responsible for or largely responsible for and have somehow turned the world on its head and made themselves the victims. The victims! "
Cohost: Let them move on with it for christ's sake, what difference does it make, they are going to honor some dead--people that died unfortunately, let them move on, let them change the date, let them do whatever they want"
April 21, 2009 by email in response to a survivor, again conflating Hillsborough and Heysel
Steven Cohen: But no, they should not change the date for something that happened 20 years before, if they want to honor them than have a ceremony before kick off, get on with it! The world does not stop for Liverpool, and the events that they have created, that they are not the victims, they are the perpetrators!
Cohost: (laughs) He's trying to make up for yesterday's rant that was missed, it was a cracker.Steven Cohen: I'm not, I'm telling you, they are the perpetrators. You are not going to change my opinion on this. And then they come out with this bollocks about "oh well we don't want to play a game on the 20th anniversary, we really want..."(makes numerous noises mocking Liverpudlian accent) Just unbelievable, they are the most despicable people. And you know who's behind this... the Hillsborough bleeding Justice group who couldn't be more corrupt and more blatantly ridiculous when they get to something like this. Play the bloody game, UEFA, don't fall for this, at the end of the day, they are just as guilty for what happened there as the police, the stadium and everything else, don't let them off the hook, they don't deserve it, and it's not a question of not respecting the 96, its not respecting the 8000 who showed up at Hillsborough without having tickets hell-bent on getting in"
2 different cities
2 different countries
2 different stadium
Only common link….well have a guess.
This not meant as disrespect for the 96 or their famalies (sic) but Justice…waht(sic) justice are you looking for…to be relieved of the shame and guilt and if you can get the South Yorkshire police to admit something juust (sic) to get you off their backs…that is what you are talking about."
Heysel and Hillsborough are not comparable events. Both involved crowd control and infrastructural problems, however Heysel was prompted by hooliganism, whereas there was found to be no evidence of hooliganism at Hillsborough whatsoever. The lack of hooliganism was obvious enough to be noted by the match commentator when he noticed people climbing the fences as the crush developed.
The South Yorkshire Police, far from bowing to what Steven seems to see as a liverpool mob, initially instead tried to pass blame off onto Liverpool supporters. This can be seen in the editing of statements of Junior Officers by their superiors. One such instance read "Last two pages require amending," "He also states that PCs were sat down crying when the fans were carrying the dead and injured. This shows they were organised and we were not. Have [the PC] rewrite the last two pages excluding points mentioned." (The Guardian)
May 18, 2009 World Soccer Daily, Steven tries apologizing again.
First of all I would like to apologize for comments made on World Soccer Daily on Monday April 13th that referred back to an event from April 1989. My apology is directed at any and all people who’s feelings have been hurt and people who have had awful memories and scars re-opened. The apology is heartfelt, genuine and sincere. There are some I suspect who will look at this apology with a cynical eye and of course you are entitled to see it as you like.A RESPONSE:
We are all football fans, we are all passionate football fans and the events that I am referring to could have happened to any club, in any sport, in any country at any public gathering. This is proved by events in the Ivory Coast recently as well as in South America, Ghana, the old Soviet Union etc…
Let me continue by saying that I came to this country 27 years ago. I believe in this country and what it stands for and most importantly I believe in the freedom of speech, opinion and expression and hold these values and freedoms as being amongst the most treasured of all freedoms. I wore the uniform of the US Army for 4 years between 1982 and 1986 because these freedoms are worth defending and worth fighting for. While there are many people in this world who’s views make my blood boil I would fight to defend their right to say what they believe.
I also recognize that with my position as one of the hosts of a popular radio show I have a responsibility to my audience and perhaps the radio is not the ideal place to express every opinion and every belief I have if the net result is many people being hurt and upset.
By the same token those who use a keyboard and computer to exercise their own freedom of speech, opinion and expression also have a responsibility. They have a responsibility not to sensationalize comments made and twist them for their maximum appeal especially when this is done only for their own commercial benefit and clearly with malice intended.
Finally, to those out there who have hidden behind computers to send correspondence including death threats know that your actions and words hurt this game in this country more than help it. This game has yet to find a solid and guaranteed footing in the American sporting landscape and the baggage that this game at times carries with it from the past is only re-enforced and emphasized by threats of violence and death.
Lastly the subjects being addressed in this statement will never be discussed on this show again unless it is in a open forum or debate where both sides view points can be addressed and considered. (loudly crumples paper up)
We have been exercising our freedom of speech by protesting his comments, and appreciate our right to do so. This apology proves to some extent that these efforts have been effective. We haven't done this because it confers financial benefit, in fact it has been a volunteer operation taking a significant amount of time. We have always condemned any alleged threats made against him, and fully support any efforts he requires to take to bring these people to justice.
We are deeply concerned about the development of the American sporting landscape with regard to football. The reason we have been engaged in this volunteer effort isn't simply that we believe his comments are not only reprehensible and call for some punitive response, but also that we don't want the fairly small and developing American soccer community to be infected by Mr. Cohen's lies.
This most recent apology merely states that he is going to censor himself because of the hurt that his opinion causes, and will only speak about the issue if prompted in an open forum. What this open forum constitutes is unknown. From his prior apology, we've seen a pattern of behavior where he avoided the issue for some time, but eventually simply couldn't resist. We anticipate that he won't be able to resist this time either, especially given that not ten minutes after the above statement he indicated he'd be "having fun with this." This assumption has held true, given his more recent comments.
This isn't a matter of him having a rational, but unpopular opinion that deserves to be protected against the tyranny of the majority. This is a matter where his disgust with Liverpool as a club, and as a city, have lead him to consistently make provoking comments about a very raw subject, often at very raw times. These comments suggest an understanding of the event which is in direct contradiction to all of the evidence available. He has not ONCE offered up a substantial defense of these statements, instead he makes ever changing bare assertions about crowd numbers, levels of responsibility, and a white wash by liverpool supporters to allay their guilt.
As he says, we won't change his mind, it's even written into his apology, where he suggests he will refrain from expressing his belief, but not allow it to be amended by a wealth of available evidence. This is the definition of prejudice. Football supporters holding on to small minded prejudice even in the face of human suffering, and failing to recognize that this shared humanity is so much bigger than a game, is the very essence of the old dark days of football, and it is this that Mr. Cohen has been gleefully spreading.