England's Equality Stance Fails Miserably

This week's hardly been great. The FA lose a manager after removing the allegedly racist captain. The new managerial candidates will be discriminated against should they not be British. Micah Richards leaves Twitter after a three month torrent of racial abuse. And Luis Suarez refuses to shake the hand of Patrice Evra, inciting outrage after the previous rather distasteful events.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the state of English football.

I've blogged time and time again regarding equality, and racism within the game. Why should it matter what race you are, when you've got the best job in the world?!

It's gone past the point of being just disgusting now. It's become a humiliating, embarrassing adventure for the English game. Supposedly the best leagues in the world? Yeah, keep walking.

How can we even consider ourselves the best league in the world when we can't even guarantee a player won't suffer abuse for the sake of his heritage? We expect so much from our respective teams, yet we can't get enough of hurling 'banter', as it's become known, at players.

It's gone from the pitch to social media, and back again. Using a racial slur is acceptable on the pitch, so it is now okay to use it on the likes of Twitter, or so it seems. Just pop any word into the search bar, and look at the revolting words used to provoke this country's sports stars.

It's also gone past the point of club-based rivalry. If John Terry is accused of racism, then rightfully he should be prosecuted and investigated for doing so. Chelsea fans backing him, saying 'it wasn't what he said', are just as bad as JT himself. I'm a fan of 'innocent until proven guilty', but if a player is suspected of abuse, no-one should be backing him up.

Which brings us nicely to the Luis Suarez case. Now I'm not going to delve into the unpleasant situation, seeing as the last time I did I invoked a horrific backlash of comments on Twitter. However, Kenny Dalglish continually backing his now-guilty player is just becoming an advocate for hate crimes. Whether Suarez was innocent or guilty, Kenny was wrong to suggest racism is okay.

Sepp Blatter's comments regarding shaking the hand of your opponent who has abused you is doing exactly the same. It is accepting the fact that this kind of abuse is now a part of our game. And I for one don't like that.

What impression does it give to kids involved in grassroots football if nothing bar a simple handshake is what occurs after a slur of some kind? Was it not just this week that the media suggested that the handshakes before a game ran nothing anymore anyway? Using a disrespectful handshake to solve one of the world's worst faults is hardly a great way to display our game to the world.

Fergie's comments of 'sacking' Luis Suarez were emotive and filled with frustration after the illustrious non-handshake, but the winner out of that would be Suarez himself. Escaping with multi-millions in the bank, and knowing full well a club somewhere will sign him up quick, whilst leaving behind the furore he has caused in the British media.

What I personally believe the game is missing is mutual respect. No respect from fans for other fans; players to other players; managers to other managers; clubs to other clubs. Rivalries run deep within football, yet always stand in the way within the outside world too.

A simple, meaningless handshake at the beginning of a match hardly evokes mass respect for one another. However, in lower leagues and non-league football, you'll notice that that handshake does still mean something, and it shows that all is not lost. Yet.

Something needs to be done in order to force football to emulate the likes of rugby, American football and cricket, and allow for a respect within the game to be shown. Not enough is done to push the idea of equality throughout clubs, and that's a very sad state of affairs.

The likes of the Justin Campaign, designed to help gay sportsmen and women to 'come out', helps get the message across. It was believed that 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football' was doing the same job. But nether have changed the game for good - it seems that they are deemed a fad by the national football associations, and left at that.

If this week has shown us anything, it is that English football is about to fall down a very slippery slope that can only lead to rock-bottom. The FA need to realise this quick, before it's too late.

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? You can follow me on Twitter - I'm @Adam9309 - or find me on my own blog!

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Comment by David O'Loughlin on February 13, 2012 at 13:48

I think the 8 game ban comes down to burden of proof. Now I by no means believe it was one mans word against the other. I believe Suarez did exactly what he was accused of , but the case was built on statements and had to use some presumptions.


If Suarez had been caught on camera, I believe he would have received a much bigger punishment. But the FA did step up, did give a decent size ban and its not right to compare it to Rio's because they're different situations. A dangerous red card tackle can get you a three match ban, do the same damage to someone on the street and you go to jail.


As WorldClass said, in other leagues it may have been brushed under the carpet, I'm rarely happy without the FA deal with things but they've done alright here, not perfect, but okay.

Comment by Adam Mills on February 13, 2012 at 12:05

I do think that the Premier League is first-class in terms of players on the club squads, yet the ethics of each club, the league and the current position of The FA leave a lot to be desired. There are leagues around the world that suffer from racial hatred, or other hate crimes, but manage to stamp them out.

An eight-match ban for Suarez isn't going to stop the abuse. Those 'spur of the moment' comments are only met with eight games? Members of the public can be put in prison for that. Rio got nine months for missing a drugs test. What's worse, abusing a fellow professional for his skin colour, or missing a routine drugs test intentionally? I think one outweighs the other, and it most certainly isn't the latter.

Comment by WorldClass on February 13, 2012 at 10:10

Whilst i agree with your points, and no amount is that behaviour is acceptable I do feel if you take a short hop in to Europe what you will find would make the events of Suarez and Evra look like childs play.... So whilst it is right to criticise these incidents I do feel it's important we also congratualte our selves on just how far we've come... there was a time when what Suarez did would have been swept under the carpet... very much like Blatter was suggesting and we can be proud that it has been dealt with, not always in the best way, but thankfully the FA don't get much practice at this so you can't expect them to get it 100% right.

Regarding twitter, I do feel it has to be policed better, differing opinion, debate, risque jokes... nude picture... what ever you like, just respect the people who are also using twitter... but this is just an extension of society... people now think what is it that I want to do and then do it without a thought for everyone around them... the difference from past generations you ask? I love talking to older generations and my nan puts it this way.... Take what ever path through life you like, just try not to stand on other people toes... it would seem the second part of that saying has been forgotten by many of my generation and after.

I was disgusted to see Collymore's abuse yesterday... he was called a second rate nigger more than once by clearly the same person creating different Twitter accounts... check out his RT's.

There does need to be some form of identification process that does not involve using bank cards to prevent people creating multi accounts.... National Insurance Number and Name Combination for example... would prevent 90% of this and the police would have official means to trace the message... People needs to start getting the same punishments for abuse on line...

I'm pleased now that Liverpool and Dalglish now seem to be backing down and holding their hands up... Suarez though still delivers an apologetic noneapology... in very impressive English I might add, which further mocks his defence against Evra....

It would have been put to bed had he man'ed up and shaken Evra's hand but oh no he had to behave like a school boy, what would of happened if the United fans kicked off about it? thankfully they didn't... I do hear there was several Liverpool fans removed from OT for "violent and offensive language"...

It's is true, that more and more Football is becoming a soap opera where talking points are now rarely anything to do with the football played on the park in that 90mins... The minority are taking things too far, but because they make the most noise it's taken as written that they are the voice of any club... See our idiots who got huge media attention for protests and how many turned up? Yet they are the "voice of the club"... Idiots are full of hatred the majority of us are just getting fed up of the idiots and none football talking points.

Comment by thecityisred on February 13, 2012 at 10:06

Agree with majority of the article but I don't think it means England can't have the best league, the rival is Spain and the racism there is much much worse. Of course that doesn't make any racism ok but you get my point. 

Comment by David O'Loughlin on February 12, 2012 at 14:01

Well said, but I don't think its an EPL problem solely, every league has racist fans, football has become more of a war than a game. Gary Lineker is forced to quit Twitter because of abuse, not racist abuse, just abuse.


It seems that a section of football fans ( I don't want to say minority because I don't know that) are just so angry and ready to fight and attack anything that isn't their club.


Last night I was having a conversation with a guy I know, a Pool fan and it turned to Suarez and he tried to start a fight over it. This is a normal guy but suddenly he turned because I was talking about one of his. It's like protecting your family only guess what they're not your family.


I love Manchester United and I'll defend them to my last days. But if a United player did what Suarez did I'd be furious, at Suarez for hurting my club. I'd want him gonejust like I wanted Rooney gone when he embarrassed the club.


Fans need to seperate themselves a degree, it's become too much and it's ruining the game. But it's not just racism. Look at the Patrick Barclay thing, what he said was very wrong but instead of people just saying that they wished the most vile things on him.


This game is filled with hatred now, and its depressing.


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