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.
Add a Comment