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Prejudice In Football: Racism

Recent events have highlighted the overwhelming problems British football has with prejudice and discrimination. In the first of a series of blogs, I will begin by looking at the recent racism events within British football.

The whole high profile exemplification process began on the 15th October 2011 at Anfield when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez racially abused Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. In the confrontation Suarez used the word “negro” five times, told Evra that he “kicked him because he was black” and said “he doesn’t speak to blacks”.

Luckily, the FA acted… 78 days later. The punishment though, was worth the wait- an eight match ban and a £40,000 fine. The £40,000 fine is just half a week’s wages for Suarez, a minute figure to a millionaire. However, would the punishment be more severe if it was on the street?

The reaction from Liverpool Football Club was astonishing; Liverpool were seen to be actively supporting Suarez through t-shirts bearing Suarez’s name and image on.

The prejudice within football continued just eight days later with a confrontation at Loftus Road between QPR’s Anton Ferdinand and Chelsea’s John Terry. In the match Terry is suspected to call Ferdinand a “f****** black c***”.

Initially, the reaction from the FA was been surprising; with the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ principle being followed as the FA allowed Terry to captain England in a November friendly with Sweden.

It brought up the question: of is it morally acceptable and right to allow someone undergoing a racism investigation on a fellow English professional to be allowed to captain his multicultural country?

Fortunately, today the FA finally acted – stripping Terry of his captaincy; a decision that like most of England I agree was correct.

After, the derogatory language used by these so called ‘professionals’ and the almost destruction of the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign, the thing that I found most shocking was the reaction by so called ‘football fans’ toward the victims:

A prime example of some of the abuse Evra had to endure

Patrice Evra had to endure 90 minutes of abuse, mostly in the form of booing with a very small minority of imbeciles using racist chants and actions, whom I hope Liverpool FC ban for life and report to the police. During the same game Suarez was allowed to watch the game from the stands acting innocent and joyful, whilst his huge wages still got fully paid.

I know that the majority of the ‘booers’ are not active racists but would they do the same on the street to a victim? Do they see a football stadium as a acceptable place for this?

The biggest disgrace of the series though, was the criminal who sent a death threat bullet to Anton Ferdinand via QPR.

The actions of two high profile Premier League stars came close to ruining the great work that had been done to eradicate racism in English football. I just hope that Terry is given a sufficient punishment and the authorities deals with those doing racist chants, actions and the person/group who sent the bullet.

The actions of Terry and Suarez are not representative of Premier League footballers and fans. Unfortunately, there are racial problems in football which are of very high importance abroad which need sorted. The FA’s lead in tackling racism should be followed, but I would not expect as much action from Sepp Blatter- the man who said “racism can all be forgotten in a handshake”.

About Oliver Mawhinney

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