Posted by: docdenbow | October 21, 2012

Ignorance Is Bliss ? – Racism In Football


I have expressed various opinions in the past about the national game – the 11 against 11 struggles the length and breadth of this country from humble pub teams to the glittering heights of the Premier League. In recent months we have seen in the Premier League events that have bought into question the importance of what is, after all, only a game. Neither players or fans have exactly covered themselves in glory. Players, and I am thinking of John Terry and Joey Barton especially, have behaved appallingly with behaviour that would have resulted in a ride in the back of a police van had they done the same thing outside a nightclub in a UK city centre.

John Terry was taken to court to face charges over what he said (or didn’t say) to Anton Ferdinand in a QPR Vs Chelsea match. In the end he was acquitted of charges yet the FA still felt he had a case to answer and fined him £220,000 and handed him a 4 match ban. Now, before I go any further here, I am not trying to defend John Terry here, but I am merely expressing my opinion.

Let’s delve slightly into his past and state some facts. He is 31 years old and was born in Barking, London in 1980. Can’t argue with that. He has had a chequered past. In September 2001, John Terry and three teammates were fined two weeks’ wages by Chelsea for an incident involving players and American tourists at a Heathrow airport bar in the immediate aftermath of the 11 September attacks. In January 2002 Terry, Chelsea team mate Jody Morris and Des Byrne of Wimbledon were charged with assault and affray after a confrontation with a nightclub bouncer. He was banned from selection for the England team for the duration of the case, though he was ultimately cleared of all charges. In the same month, he was fined £60 for parking his Bentley in a disabled bay. In 2009, Terry was investigated by Chelsea and the FA for allegedly taking money from an undercover reporter for a private tour of Chelsea’s training ground. The club responded that it was confident that at no time did John Terry ask for or accept money in relation to visits to the training ground. I believe that these “scrapes” he got himself into merely reflect the type of upbringing he had and the people he mixed with.

Language of a certain type would have been part of his culture as it is with many of us. Me, I’m no different – I can swear with the best of them. I’m more than 20 years older than John Terry and in no way am I racist, never have been. It’s difficult to be a racist if you grew up in Wolverhampton in the 1970s unless you have 2 inches of bone behind your eyes. That being said I have heard torrents of racial abuse in Wolverhampton aimed directly at and used about people from what used to be called ethnic minorities. I have heard similar, shall we say Anglo Saxon, comments aimed at the Scots, Welsh, Irish and in fact just about every country and race on the planet. It used to be the way of the world. I think when it comes to sport that it still is. However, although much of it is sweary, for me the line is drawn when the recipient of the abuse’s colour is added to the insult.

So do I think John Terry is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand? The answer to that is yes. I’ve seen the videos on YouTube and it’s crystal clear what he said. Do I think John Terry is racist? On balance I would have to say no. Is he thick and doesn’t know the difference between calling someone a “c***” and calling someone a “black c***?” Most definitely. To me the real point here is that the handling of the whole situation could have been used by John Terry himself to help highlight and remove racism and racist insults from the football pitch, at least.

He could have said sorry.

What would have happened if John Terry had held his hands up and said that he did abuse and swear at Anton Ferdinand and that he did use a racial slur. He lost his senses and said it in the heat of the moment. He could have apologised unreservedly. He could have shown humility and contrition. In my opinion had he done all of that and maybe more, even if he wasn’t forgiven people would have seen him in perhaps a different light. He could’ve, for example, gone quietly about bringing football to inner city areas where there is a high percentage of kids with nothing to do.

He did none of those things which leads me to conclude that maybe he is a selective racist just like a Wolves fan I encountered years and years ago. Wolves were playing West Brom at the Molineux and through much of the first half every time Cyrille Regis the black centre West Brom forward came near this bloke would scream some vile racist insults and make monkey noises. Eventually someone said something like this to this idiot
“Shut up, don’t you think all this crap you’re shouting will upset George Berry (black Wolves defender) as well?”
The reply illustrated ignorance on a massive scale.
“George is one of ours and besides he ain’t black he’s Welsh.”

I rest my case.

Moving swiftly on to the England Vs Serbia Under-21 game…..

Danny Rose is quoted as saying,

“When we went out for the warm-up, behind the bench they started monkey chanting straight away,”

“Halfway through the warm-up, I went to the assistant manager Steve Wigley and told him what was happening. He said I should try my best to get through it and that we’d deal with it after the game. The first half was no way near as bad as the second.

“I had two stones hit me on the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in.

“Every time I touched the ball I heard monkey chants. After 60 minutes, my mind wasn’t really on the game. It was just so hard to concentrate, I was so angry. I don’t understand how Serbia can learn from it – they have to be banned.”

The Serbians are saying that it’s all Danny Rose’s fault. Danny Rose’s fault that the Serbia bench attacked Steve Wigley – interesting concept.

Michel Platini threatened Serbia’s expulsion from all European competitions previously for their behaviour, how slim are the odds that he’ll carry out the threat.

Oh yes, this type of behaviour is limited to internationals and the Premier League…right? Wrong!

An Oldham Athletic player, Lee Croft, was accused of calling one of Sheffield United’s ball boys the N-word. Though Croft denies it, the boy in question, aged 14, was visibly upset. Two Shrewsbury players, Marvin Morgan and Jermaine Grandison, complained of being racially abused at Hartlepool last month. Marvin Sordell of Bolton Wanderers did likewise after a game at Millwall two weekends ago. For speaking out, a mocked-up photograph was sent to his Facebook account showing a gun pointing towards the 21-year-old and blood splattered across his face and shirt. Grammar uncorrected, the message was: “dont f*ck with the millwall”. Patrice Evra, Suárez’s victim, is now booed routinely at Anfield.

Yes my friends there is more than a little bit wrong with football and until we refuse to play these teams or players take the matter into their own hands by the simple act of walking off the pitch then it never ever get better.

Ciao For Now

Denbow

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