Dublin media are howling over descriptions of the Irish capital in an ESPN The Magazine profile of native son Conor McGregor, who is scheduled to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. on 26 August, near Las Vegas.
“In the piece, McGregor’s childhood upbringing in the ‘projects’ of Crumlin and Drimnagh suggests he was brought up in the Gaza Strip or 1920s Chicago, not a neighbourhood in which this writer lived for six happy and peaceful years, oblivious to the grenades whizzing by, or the fact that I should have been taking an armed escort whenever I had to cross the Liffey,” Jennifer O’Connell complained in The Irish Times.
RTE radio presenter Rick O’Shea took to Twitter: “I grew up in both the ‘projects’ *ahem* of Crumlin and Drimnagh. This is lazy stereotyping bullshit of the highest order.”
I sure don’t claim to know every corner of Dublin from my half dozen visits over 17 years, but the story by Wright Thompson sure does seem over the top:
Dublin is best understood by exploring its many divisions, its unending physical and mental boundaries. The city, and its current champion, McGregor, are defined by those limits. It’s a clannish, parochial place. Crossing the wrong street has traditionally been reason enough for an ass-whipping.
Other divisions in the city revolve around class, and while Conor’s success allows him safe passage across gangland boundaries, it can’t overcome his Dublin 12 roots. The Irish national daily papers have long served as the mouthpiece of the upwardly mobile and educated. McGregor rarely makes their pages. On the first morning of the prefight media tour, The Irish Times and the Independent ran a combined 128 words about it: one small story about Mayweather’s tax problems.
Ah, ha! Could that be the problem: Thompson’s jab at the Dublin media?
As The Guardian noted: “This is not the first time that U.S. media’s depiction of the supposed dangers of life in Europe have attracted ridicule.”