Black English football heroes Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho & Bukayo Saka have been racially abused on social media following England’s defeat to Italy on penalties yesterday as racism truly came home to black players who have given their all for the country.
Why Being Black And A Football Fan Is Problematic
There is something about supporting England as a black person that is problematic. It does not matter what a black player does for his country the inevitable tirade of racist abuse follows when he makes a mistake.
I sat there and watched the match and predicted that if England lost or it came to a penalty shoot-out, and a black player missed, racist abuse would follow.
The FA this morning confirmed my predictions after condemning the racist abuse online of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho & Bukayo Saka, following their penalty misses in the final against Italy. (BBC: 12/07/2021: Racist abuse of England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho & Bukayo Saka condemned by FA)
These are the reasons why I struggle to support the English national side. We can claim that it is just a minority of individuals, we can claim that a few idiots don’t represent the majority of well behaved football fans however, the English fans political opposition to and booing of the England players taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter, makes me question whether they would have done the same towards LGBTQ, ant-semitism or gender violence.
The FA has been parroting the same comments for years regarding tackling racism in football and black players have been calling for tougher fines and penalties against abusers for some time. Racism will probably never be kicked out of football as long as punishments are lenient & Racism in football is rooted in wider society and cultural norms
The FA’s refusal to take racism seriously is part of the reason why racism continues to flourish in the sport. Fines are not enough. Lengthy bans and lifetime bans for repeated offenders is needed to send a strong message to everyone, but ticket sales clearly takes precedence over racism.
Black football players should not have to think that their performances on the field is the difference between being racially abused or being treated as any other player.
It’s fine for the FA, the mainstream media and the Prime Minister to condemn the racism when they have all been complicit in encouraging racism.
Back in 2011, FIFA president, Sepp Blatter told CNN that there was no racism in football and racist comments could be handled with a handshake. I wonder if would feel the same away about anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism? I very much doubt it.
The mainstream media are the same organisations that promote anti immigrant hysteria and have an obsession with the birth rates of non whites in this country. They have no qualms dividing whites against blacks in headlines referring to whites being the victims of racism etc. This is all in my article Racism in football is rooted in wider society and cultural norm.
The Prime Minister himself has been guilty of using racial language in a more sophisticated way and is in no position to judge these racist football fans. (Guardian: 23 January, 2008: Johnson’s ‘piccaninnies’ apology: By Owen Bowcott and Sam Jones)
In June 2020, Marcus Rashford demonstrated leadership when he forced the Conservative government to make a U-turn on free school meals. Rashford’s win is an inspiration for black voters Obviously, Rashfords’s 2.9 million Twitter followers and potential voters had more to do with the government’s change of heart rather than morality, but it demonstrates the potential of people when they come together for a cause.
Rashford and other black football players need to raise the ante and forget the pointless knee bowing. It is time for British black football players to refuse to play in national sides until the FA takes this issue seriously.
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