Racism in football is increasingly exhibiting the “ugly” side of “the beautiful game”. There was a huge uproar in the media when Raheem Sterling was racially abused in a match at Stamford Bridge. Though the Chelsea fan was identified and banned from attending any further matches, the problem, as Sterling tried to point out then, is far beyond just West London.
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Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.
A post shared by Raheem Sterling x 😇 (@sterling7) on
The mirror’s Darren Lewis had asked three questions in the aftermath of the incident, that showed the source of the problem.
- How many of the media outlets conducting interviews on the Sterling issue this week had people of colour asking the questions?
- How many newspapers in this country have black people in charge of the news agenda?
- How many of our media outlets – radio and TV – have black people actually approving what goes to air?
The already grave problem seems to be on the rise, and it does makes you think into Lewis’s questions.
According to a report released by Kick It Out in July, racism in English football had risen by 43 per cent – from 192 to 274 – last season. And with just two seasons into the 2019-20 season, we already have two such incidents reported. After Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, Paul Pogba was the sufferer after missing a penalty in Manchester United’s game against Wolves.
Pogba, like Abraham, was targeted on social media after failing to convert a penalty.
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) August 20, 2019
England women’s team manager Phil Neville voiced his opinion over the incident.
“I think we probably have to take drastic measures now as a football community – I’ve had it with my players on social media, the Premier League stars and the Championship have had it,” Neville was quoted as saying by AFP sports on Tuesday.
After a similar incident on Twitter a few weeks back, the social media outlet vowed to take action against such cases. But according to Neville, that is exactly what Twitter would do in all such cases without much to show for it later. He wanted the players to take the initiative and boycott social media rather than waiting for Twitter to do something, which would be of no particular use.
“I just wonder whether as a football community we come off social media,” Neville said. “Because Twitter won’t do anything about it, Instagram won’t do anything about it – they send you an email reply saying they’ll investigate but nothing happens.
“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so let’s send a powerful message: come off social media (for) six months. Let’s see the effect it has on these social media companies.”
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was another one who condemned social media and asked them to be more pro-active to stop “pathetic trolls”.
“Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it,” Maguire tweeted. “Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram.”
A few tweets abusing Pogba were released, while a few accounts were brought down. Manchester United, following the incident released a strong statement against such incidents.
“The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also,” the statement read.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 20, 2019
“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.
“We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.”