On Wednesday and Thursday of this week we have had several cases of racial abuse thrown towards several black players. On Wednesday Jon obi Mikel was on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse on twitter after the 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Juventus. Then on Thursday Jermaine Defoe and other players were on the receiving end of abuse from Lazio fans at White Hart Lane. And here is the problem. Racisim has nothing to do with football. And football doesn’t discriminate against anyone.
The problem is people and culture. And sadly football is being used as a medium not only for fans to be racist but for the media to highlight it. Most honest decent football fans watching a game get annoyed with opposition players simply because they either scored or tackled a player from their own team. To those honest fans the colour of their skin, weather black,white or illuminated green doesn’t matter because they are simply only ever interested in the game.
Now as we know there are players who are guilty of this problem too. There is, however, a way to eliminate it from the game. In 2002 FIFA wanted to stop players from taking there shirt off as to prevent them from delaying the restart of a game after goal had been scored. So to prevent it they brought a fear element and booked players for removing there shirt. And for the most part it has worked.
Now point isn’t to book players found to be racist but bring a simple fear element and consequence for their action. Most famous of recent times is the Suarez incident in which resulted in a ten game ban. These sort of bans need to be continued against players found to be racist. It may take time but when players sit on the sidelines for 10 games,costing their team valuable points, the message will hit home.
Now the problem with fans(and players) being racist is more a social problem than a problem with football. A cultural change is what’s needed to control the problem with this sort of abuse. And information is the key. Because a player may be a different colour is a labelling problem. I will give you another example.
Up until about 1999/2000 their were little to no immigrants in Ireland. And in particular small towns throughout the country. So as the influx of Polish immigrants began Irish people started to call them foreigners as they were the first people to immigrate here. So as a result the name stuck. And Polish people began to become known as Foreigners. Now if you are Irish or you live in Ireland, any one that is from France is French, Germany is German, USA is American and Poland is Foreigner. Now this lead to stereotyping against anyone who had an eastern European accent being called foreigners(Polish) as people in Ireland couldn’t distinguish between the languages. However as time went on with information,people slowly began to stop this labelling and a culture change happened and slowly continues to this day. Now all of this is well and good but people need to take a real stance against it. It is said that ‘evil prevails when good men stand by and do nothing’. Players being abused need to stand up and report it and kick it out of the game. Fans need to do it as well to kick it out of the stands. With social media and technology being so powerful these days it can be used as a tool to report this problem. Only on Thursday’s game at White Hart Lane, FARE, a group against racism tweeted a link to which fans could report racism within the crowd. But also people have a voice. If your hear it say it.
I, like most, want to watch a game where its eleven against eleven…..not black against white.
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