Last week, the English Football Association (FA) ruled that Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho would face no charges for a social media post celebrating his teammate André Onana making a vital last-minute penalty save in a Champions League match. Why would he face charges for such a thing anyway? Because, hoping to praise Onana’s physical prowess, he also posted two gorilla emojis alongside a photo of the goalkeeper in question – who just happens to be a very large black man from Cameroon.

To his immense credit, Mr. Onana anticipated the inevitable FA-led witch-hunt against Garnacho that would follow if he stayed silent, quickly backing his team-mate with a post of his own:

Those are very sensible words: “People cannot choose what I should be offended by.” The trouble is, we no longer live in a terribly sensible world, and people are constantly going around deciding just that. This phenomenon does not yet seem to have acquired a specific name of its own, but I would like to propose we christen it ‘compelled offence’, the dark inverted twin of that other common scourge of contemporary discourse, ‘compelled speech’.

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Valerie

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