Monday, 9 June 2014

Football: No to Racism

Racism on the sports field is still a problem. On 28 April, Villareal fan David Campaya Lleo threw a banana at Brazilian defender Dani Alves da Silva during a football match. Villareal was fined by the Spanish Football Federation, Campaya Lleo was arrested (via), Alves took the banana, peeled it, ate it and sparked a worldwide social media campaign: Football stars and other (famous) people posted pictures of themselves holding bananas to show solidarity with Alves (via). Chiquita Hellas included "Say No To Racism" in the Chiquita logo (via). In March, Brazilian referee Marcio Chagas was called "monkey" by fans who shouted "go back to circus" or "the jungle is your home" (via). After the match, he found a pile of bananas on his car's windshield (via), the doors were scratched (via). Chagas says he has been exposed to more than 200 racially-motivated attacks during his career as a referee (via). 24 hours later, Brazilian football player Marcos Arouca da Silva was called "monkey" (via). Brazil, football and racism is not a rare combination. Brazil, however, can easily be replaced by other countries.

A great many black players avoid talking about the racist attacks as they are afraid of harming their career (via). In 2005, Thierry Henry launched the campaign "Stand Up Speak Up" together with Nike - one year after Spain's national manager Luis Aragonés had referred to him as a "negro de mierda" (via).

Italian striker Mario Balotelli has experienced covert and overt racism more than once (via and via). Goalkeeper Idriss Carlos Kameni was pelted with bananas by his own fans during an Atletico-vs.-Espayol game in 2005 (via). During a Barcelona-vs.-Real-Zaragoza match, Samuel Eto once threatened to leave the field but was persuaded to stay (via). Midfielder Kevin Constant did leave the field (via). So did Kevin-Prince Boateng from FC Schalke 04 after being racially abused; he said he would do it again: "Racism does not go away. If we don't confront it, it will spread" (via).  Marco André Zoro Kpolo recently wrote:
“Nine years after racist incident in Italy during the match FC Messina vs Inter milan, I am still subject to the same incident in Greece. During the match OFI FC vs ARIS, this Saturday, March 2, 2014, all of the ARIS fans turned against my small personality shouting racist abuse of all kinds, probably just because their team could not score lol. With the full knowledge of all official, I complain to the referee, and I am surprised to receive a yellow card in return” (via). 
Manchester midfielder Gnégnéri Yaya Touré suffered monkey chants during a Champions League game (via), Brazilian football star Roberto Carlos considered retiring after a banana was thrown at him during a match in Russia - which was not the first time. He left the pitch: "You know when that sadness hits, that feeling of being powerless? I left there sad, hurt. So many kids there. That has to be banned from football". (via). The retired football defender Lilian Thuram, founder of "Fondation Lilian Thuram. Èducation contre le racisme", stresses the fact that we really need to educate against racism. So does John Barnes who suffered racist abuse during his career at Liverpool in the 1980s (via).

... Ronaldinho, Dixie Dean, Clyde Best, Ade Coker, Paul Canoville, Garth Crooks, Patrice Evra, Anton Ferdinand, Cyrille Regis, Stan Collymore, Viv Anderson, Nigel de Jong, Dalian Atkinson, Felix Dja Ettien, Antonio Geder, André Bikey, Paul Ince, Bryan Roy, Romário, Ruud Gullit, Aron Winter, Boubacar Kébé, Abdeslam Ouaddou, Frédéric Mendy, Oguchi Onyewu, Zola Matumona, Kinglsey Onuegbu, Adebowale Ogungbure, Gerald Asamoah, Henri Belle, Daniel Braaten, Caleb Francis, Pa Modou Kah, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, Papakouly Diop ... ... ...
... ... ... different decades, different countries, different clubs, different people ... many of them considered as the best football players ... all of them racially abused by (opposition) fans, trainers and/or club chairmen. The status of being successful superheroes with the highest salaries and nominations as the best players does not protect these football stars from becoming victims.


  1. Football is one of the most important keys to ending homophobia in men's sports.

  2. ... and ending racism in sports, of course.

    1. Stay on topic, darling. ;-)

    2. Monday morning dizziness, professor :-)

  3. I absolutely agree; the different -isms and -phobias are so often linked to each other. And apart from that, I do want to look forward to the World Cup ... football can be so beautiful. Many thanks for commenting, Derek and Karen ;-)

  4. I am a big fan of the legendary Karen-Derek-dialogues ;-)
    Thank you!