The musings of a Mancunian sport loving Muslimah

The Not So Beautiful Game

Racism rears its ugly head.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I’ve read and heard several arguments regarding the ongoing cases of alleged racism against Evra, Ferdinand and Kanoute, with Suarez, John Terry (not JT!) and Cesc Fabregas involved.  Astonishingly, it seems in these instances, the claims of racism have been made where fellow professionals are trying to derail an opponent, for a subsequent advantage for their team.

Several things have boggled the mind on this ongoing debacle:

  • Several people have commented this weekend, after The Mirror claimed that Suarez has admitted to using the word ‘Negro’, though he considered it ‘affectionately’, as is Hispanic culture, that it isn’t really that big a deal.  Despite a vast majority slamming the player, rightly, against the use of the word and the context it was used in, some have gone on to say, ‘Is that really what Evra is crying about?  The use of the word ‘Negro’?  This was astounding.  Have we really gone back to the ’50’s, where people feel it is okay to use such language loosely without repercussions for their actions?  I can’t help but feel that the education has failed in informing people of the background of the word ‘Negro’, and the history that the black people suffered.  Reading a favourite of mine, ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’, might be a starting point.  This goes hand in hand with what one Daily Fail journalist said:

“So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand

I know you feel insulted

But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game.”

No, you clearly don’t know.  Because if you did, you’d be shouting from the roof tops for The FA to resolve the matter.  And if found guilty, calling for the players to be banned.

Are we just drowning in 'red tape?'

  • This brings me on to the stance of the FA.  Apart from one official announcement, since Oct 23rd there has been nothing else.  Despite ample television coverage, they’re taking far too long to come to a decision and resolve this.  It is not fair on the players involved to be forced to wait this long, and all it does is, is cause further fractions.  Football fans have seemingly taken it upon themselves to make this about football and the clubs we happen to support.  How wrong could we be.  How can we belittle an issue like racism being about allegiance.  This is about far more than that, this is about equality and not stigmatizing or differentiating people based on the colour of their skin and certainly not name-calling because of the colour that they happen to be.

Why is it taking The FA so long to interview the players, check the footage and resolve it?  Why is it so bureaucratically being drawn out?  We all know what usually happens in instances like this, they span out for such a long time, that they eventually become a non-story and are brushed under the carpet.  Players and fans are then expected to keep on like nothing has happened or ever did happen, I’m sure The FA would like to ask Mr Smith for his magic ‘memory eraser flash’ so we just move on and claim ignorance.  I mean, we in the British media lament the Russian and Spanish authorities for failing to resolve the issue of racism both in the stands and on the pitch, yet, we ourselves are hardly a beacon of light for others to follow.  Sweeping things under the carpet seems to be the way for the spineless FA.

The irony of it all is the ‘Respect’ and ‘Kick it Out‘ campaigns that have been launched and backed by The FA and several players.  As Phil Neville said,

“What I don’t understand is

why have we got these campaigns like Kick It Out,

which I support one hundred per cent, if no one is going to act on it?

  • I’m actually somewhat bemused and shocked at some of the arguments and reasoning I’ve heard, including that whoever is found guilty should be banned.  That’s ludicrous.  Let’s consider for a minute that Evra and Ferdinand are found ‘guilty’, in that there was no evidence of any racism, how will punishing them help?  So, because there wasn’t enough evidence that means the player should be punished for it?  We can see from the reactions of the players, that something clearly was said.  For some to even go and say that individual players are playing the ‘race-card’ in order to hide from their own poor performances boggles the mind.  In the case of Fabregas and Kanoute it is pretty clear there were unsavoury words.

All words and no 'action' from The FA.

  • Some Chelsea fans have backed their player 100%, likewise with Liverpool and Barcelona fans.  Despite there being ‘evidence’ which is quite ‘skirmish’, why do people feel the need to constantly back a player that happens to play for their team?  Admitting that someone made a racist remark, doesn’t make you a bad fan.  Racism is nothing to do with sport, only in this context it happened within a sporting environment.  I’ve seen instances in other professions, where employees have been suspended ‘pending further enquiries’, even though at that moment in time there may not be a guilty/innocent verdict.  Maybe this is something we need to consider in football too.  I mean, what are the actual procedures and repercussions if found guilty of racism? It seems FIFA and The FA spout all the right words, to globalise the football game, yet in reality, very little is being done.

All that seems to have happened in these cases is that a lot of column inches have been filled on this topic, majority of them based on opinion and one/two biased and twisted.  The longer this affair is drawn out, the messier it will become, the more guesses people will make, and the harder it will be to repair the damage.  The FA have it within them to resolve this now, and should be looking to do that within the next few days.  It has already drawn out for far too long.

The repercussions of how this is currently being handled and the way it is resolved, will have repercussions for those footballers coming through.  If the authorities are seen to be doing nothing, which family from an ethnic-minority will want their child to become a professional footballer?  How many possible class players will we lose?  Considering this, what faith will players have in the system, and when they are racially abused they will be forced to brush it off and not inform anyone, because a) nothing gets done anyway and b) it’ll be claimed they’ve played the ‘race-card’.  Many have already commented on what would the stance by journalists be and by The FA if the abuse was directed at a white player from a black player, is this really the route we want to go down?  As football fans we should now unite, and not be divided over this, just because of who we happen to support.

Further than that, ‘debates’ on Twitter and other social media networks, has clearly highlighted that racism is ever prevalent.  Stan Collymore, regardless of our individual views of him, received abusive messages from Twitter users based on the colour of his skin, and he hasn’t been alone in this.  Several people have spoken about racist taunts they have heard in the stands directed at players, how can we allow this to go on?  I’m bored with the, ‘I can’t be racist, I have black friends…’ sentences that start, if you have it within you to comment on someone or judge them based on their skin colour, then you are a racist.  There are no grey lines.

I think it’s apt, to leave the blog on the Last Sermon, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab,

nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab;

white has no superiority over black,

nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another]

except by piety and good action.”

I’m still awaiting a reply from The FA and the Daily Mail writer on my emails to them.  I won’t hold my breath.

Pretty posters and words, yet nothing being done.


5 responses to “The Not So Beautiful Game

  1. Keith (@TheMancunianRed) October 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    A superb article you have covered all the bases and how Suarez can state it was affectionate when Evra I believe even complained to the ref anout the comments during the game. It seems that football for all its posturing doesn’t take racism seriously

    • SportyMuslimah October 31, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks 🙂

      One thing that really gets to me, is that, is he was saying it ‘affectionately’, why repeat it several times? Obviously looking to rile Evra, therefore knowing it was wrong.

      Secondly, if that was from the stands, I’m pretty sure The FA would react differently.

  2. mcabsent February 24, 2012 at 12:47 am

    It wasn’t affectionate after all, nothing affectionate about saying “I don’t speak to black people”. So glad I’m a footballing neutral.

  3. mcabsent February 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    y’know I can actually symphatise the word ‘nigger/negrado’ to be somewhat friendly, but in the context of ignoring someone and suggesting you’re doing it because they’re black is what’s racist. I’ve also done a blog post on the whole thing:

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