Racism in Soccer
Racism has been a part of civilization for a very long time now and will be something that will always be around. It has even found its way into sports all around the world and the problem continues to grow. Sports of all kinds have this problem, from organizations such as the NBA and NFL, to the leagues in other countries. One of the biggest sports in the world, soccer, has one of the worst issues with racism. Since soccer is played in every part of the world, many different cultures and races come together to participate. Many of today’s players will go to different countries and play for other teams. When they do so, they run into many fans of opposing teams and even their own supporters ridiculing them on and off the field. This behavior can be demoralizing to a player that is trying to play a sport that they love. There are so many cases of racism in the sport and there is hardly anything done to stop it.
The game has a problem with the way fans treat the players. With soccer being such a global sport, the problem is noticed more than in other sports. If soccer supporters and organizations would stop the problem, and implement ways to control it, other sports organizations would follow. Racism has been going on for many years now and just continues to get worse in todays society.
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In April of 2019, Danny Rose, a left back for the English national team, said “I’ve got five or six years left in football, and, I just can’t wait to see the back of it.” The incident that caused Rose to say this, was when Montenegro fans directed “monkey” chants to him and his teammate, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who are black. This happened during a Euro 2020 qualifying match. The story of this is sad and the fact that fans of other teams are doing this is pitiful. I’m sure that they would not like their players getting mocked so why should they do it to others. Rose looking forward to retirement, because of the racism he is subjected to, should not be happening. He isn’t the only player in the sport that has said this either. Players should not have to be counting down the days to get away from being ridiculed. Many of todays soccer players are coming together to help one another and stand up for each other. Since organizations will not take drastic action to stop the issues, many are needing help to get through it and standing up to their ridiculers.
Another issue that occurred in April of 2019, was when Juventus’s forward, Moise Kean, scored a goal. The player then proceeded to celebrate, which then triggered fans to start chanting racist comments at him. Celebrating is a part of the soccer culture and it happens after almost every goal scored. This wasn’t anything new that he had done, but for some reason, the fans were being hateful to him that day. The chants then caused the opposing team’s players to come to his aid. They procced to yell at the fans making the chants and helped support him when he was visibly upset. This however wasn’t the end of the situation. Kean’s teammate, Leonardo Bonuccie, said later to reporters that Kean was partly to blame for the angry response. That statement from Bonuccie added to the situation and caused many players from other teams to come to Kean’s aid and give their thoughts. Manchester City’s, Raheem Sterling, went to twitter and ridiculed Bonuccie for not standing by his own teammate. Paul Pogba, a former player for Juventus, gave Kean encouragement and told him to keep on working every day and assured him that he has his back, along with many other players.
One of the biggest moments in recent soccer history that brought the racism problem to light, was back in 2014 with Barcelona’s right back, Dani Alves. Dani Alves is a Brazilian player that played for Barcelona in Spain. The match they were playing was against rivals, Real Madrid, and is one of the biggest matches of the year in soccer. Dani Alves had been ridiculed and told he was a monkey many times before. This time Alves decided to take a different approach to the matter. He was taking a corner kick when a fan threw a banana onto the field at him.
Unlike most times when he wouldn’t acknowledge it he did this time. He picked the banana up, peeled it, took a bite, and proceeded to take the corner. This time he took an approach many hadn’t before, he used humor to get through the racist action of the fan. This is one of the first times any soccer player has really acknowledged a fan’s comment during a match. Dani Alves’s actions sparked a big uprising of support from other players and this is really when some actions began to take place to prevent racism to the players. A lot of the support Alves received was praise for doing what he had done.
Former Barcelona striker, Gary Lineker, said “Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves. Treat the racist person with complete disdain!” Many others also added in with the support. Neymar, one of Alves’s teammates at Barcelona and on the Brazilian national team posted a picture of him eating a banana. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City’s striker also did the same as Neymar. The actions of Dani Alves was known all around the world after it took place and was a staple for the campaigns in place today to prevent racism on soccer. With all the recent high-profile cases of racism directed at the players, FIFA is starting to crack down even more than ever. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said recently that he has told the referees to even abandon matches in the worst cases.
To me I don’t think this would be a good idea. If they decided to just quit the game, it would be letting the people who are racist win and get the satisfaction. The president says that abandoning the match would help prevent racism but I just don’t see that happening. Referees have in cases stopped a game before because of fans being racist and causing to much trouble. This is a good way to combat it and the people that are responsible should be taken out and banned for life from coming back to that particular stadium. Many clubs are beginning to incorporate a zero-tolerance policy to help stop the actions for good.
Many cops and guards are now placed in all sections of the stadiums. Their job is to identify anyone making any type of racist gestures or comments, and if so, to escort them out immediately. Many of the players fully support this and have even lobbied for their own clubs to do so. This would make the players feel a lot safer on the field and they could then focus more on the game instead of hearing all of the fans ridiculing them because of who they are and where they are from. FIFA is slowly starting to crack down on the racism that takes place in soccer around the world. They will probably never be able to completely stop it, but they can stop it from happening as often and help it from getting carried away. The racists that do these things to the players are ruining the game not only for the other supporters, but also for the players. Players are not looking forward to games as much because of all the hurt and hate they have received, and many are even looking forward to retiring now.
The racism needs to be stopped once and for all so the game, that the world loves, can continue to grow and appeal to the youth. To me, if the racism continues, it will drive many young players away from going professional because they are scared of the comments and don’t want to have to worry about being ridiculed because of their color and their culture. FIFA is finally acting towards the issues, and once the racism is suppressed, the game will be much safer and much more entertaining.