When dealing with matters of offence, I have found that a decent starting point is not presuming to tell the offended party that what they are offended about, isn’t actually offensive. Particularly if I am not part of said offended group.

Sure, as a man of a certain vintage now, I can’t deny the odd eye roll when scrolling through social media at the more extreme elements of so-called ‘cancel culture’, but what it all boils down to at the end of the day is respect.

I was working at Fir Park on Sunday, and heard the now infamous Brendan Rodgers interview with BBC Scotland’s Jane Lewis shortly after the Celtic manager had been into the press room to speak to the newspapers.

I must admit, the first thing to strike my male ear was not the use of the phrase ‘Good girl’, but the rather snippy tone and agitated demeanour of Rodgers. That is because in my weekly dealings with him, it was jarring and out of the ordinary.

Rodgers is not Joey Barton, or even in the same stratosphere, so let’s get that straight right off the bat. And to add some context to the debate that has raged since the weekend, his phraseology was entirely in-keeping with the general way he addresses journalists.

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At the beginning and end of almost every press conference, Rodgers will offer a handshake and a ‘Good man’ or ‘Good lad’, even if you have spent the preceding 15 minutes questioning his tactics or his team. But there was of course a couple of rather crucial differences in the case of his interview with Lewis.

‘Good girl’, for a start, is not the same as ‘Good man’. If he called me a ‘Good boy’, being as I am in my early forties, that may strike me in a different way. And in the context of the manner in which he cut Lewis off and brought the interview to a curt and abrupt end, his use of the phrase came across as glib and condescending.

I am sure Rodgers will regret that, and I am equally as sure that he didn’t mean it to be. Lewis herself, a huge advocate of, role model to, and example for female sports journalists has said that she wasn’t offended by it. Given she knows Rodgers better than the many commentators attacking him on social media, I’d say she is better placed to judge his intention.

Nevertheless, just as in my early 20s I might have cringed when hearing an elderly relative refer to the Chinese takeaway or the corner shop in a less than PC manner, that there are clear differences in generational sensitivities to language is something that has to be acknowledged.

And whatever Rodgers’ motives, I’m sure he will take this furore as a lesson, and be more careful with his choice of words in future. What he may have thought an entirely benign way to refer to someone in a professional context clearly is anything but.

What I can say, as someone who deals with Rodgers on a regular basis, is that he is habitually cordial and respectful, even if you get on the wrong side of him or if – as it has often been this season for one reason or another – the questions you are asking are awkward or uncomfortable for him.

So, I feel qualified to offer some sort of defence of his intent, having never witnessed him be anything other than courteous to colleagues, whether they be male or female.

As a man, though, and having not had to clear the hurdles that a female sports reporter would have in her path to make her way in this industry, I am not remotely qualified to say that women should not have found his choice of words offensive.

Both of these things can be true. Rodgers doesn’t have to be a rampant misogynist to say something sexist, but if he does, then that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand just because he may not have meant it.

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So, I was rather surprised that he stopped short of offering an apology for his choice of words when he next faced the media on Tuesday.

He has spoken to Lewis personally, of course, and she herself didn’t feel that an apology was necessary. But given his position as a figurehead for a national institution, had he offered one publicly in any case to those who were offended by his choice of words, it would have sent out a clear signal that not only had he himself learnt from the experience, but that there was a lesson there for all men.

You might not be consciously sexist, and even be upset at such an accusation. But through the use of careless words or in your general attitude, you can in fact be contributing to an unconscious sexism that nonetheless is very real for women in the football industry – or just about any industry – and that they are forced to face and to overcome.

What may look like a storm in a teacup to you, to me, or to Rodgers, may in fact be another reason why a young woman decides not to pursue a career in sports journalism, for instance.

Some of the very best football journalists I have encountered – the likes of Alison McConnell, formerly of this parish, or Moira Gordon over at The Scotsman – just happen to be female. If I referred to either of them as a ‘Good girl’, I would soon be left in no doubt that it was a poor choice of words, let me tell you.

Let’s hope the Rodgers row doesn’t deter any young females who are thinking of following in their footsteps, even if - I am sure – that was not his intention.