Why I think the racism problem may never end (2)
Racism in Football
On January 3, 2013, I remembered seeing AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng walking off the pitch in a friendly match between his club and an Italian lower division club, Pro Patria following racist chants from the crowd forcing the game to an abrupt end after just 25 minutes of action. In fury, he carried the ball and kicked it into the crowd. It was too much confusion for a single night. He pulled off his jersey and refused every persuasion from his team mates to return to the pitch. While walking off the pitch, he appeared to applause a part of the crowd that obviously supported him and they in turn reacted angrily towards the part of the field where the chants and assaults seemed to have come from. His teammates joined by also walking off the pitch. It was a night with plenty of drama. Several people all over were talking about the incidence. They all thought it was the best way to end the protracted battle of racism in football.
Boateng walks off the pitch
The Blackman's Ordeal
Following the incident, FIGC president, Giancarlo Abete remarked “We must react with force and without silence to isolate the few criminals that transformed a friendly match into an uproar that offends all of Italian football." He was wrong! Very Very wrong! Force beget Force. If I was in that stadium on that day, no goal would have equalled that kind of drama. Watching a player kicking into the crowd, pulling his shirt and bringing a game to a close after just 25 minutes; that would be more than enough fun for whatever gate fee I paid. Days later, I’ll still be talking about it and would even count myself lucky to witness it. “I was there, I saw it, all of it!” is what I’ll tell everyone who cares to listen and if I wasn’t there, I would no doubt have wished the whole thing happened right before me so I could catch some fun, after all that is what games are meant to provide - FUN. On another night, if my team was having a nightmare and I wanted the game cancelled, then starting a monkey chant would definitely be a smart way to go about it. Now don’t get mad at me, that is just the truth. This kind of malady happens every time in games. Several top players like Cameroonian Samuel Eto and Italian Mario Baloteri have all suffered similar experiences while playing for their respective clubs at one time or the other in their playing career. Balotelli himself has threatened to follow in the footsteps of Boateng if he continues to remain in the spotlight. This is more or less a constant experience for most black players despite constant efforts from FIFA and other stakeholders in the game.
Brazillian Roberto Carlos in 2011 had a more disgusting experience while playing for Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia. During the stoppage time of a match at Krylya Sovetov, a ripe banana was thrown at him. He took the banana and threw it away shaking his head as he stormed off the pitch. This particular incidence wasn’t the first but it’s surprising that it came after another Russian club - St Petersburg - was fined $10,000 for throwing a banana at Roberto Carlos before a match. Obviously, the fine thing is only a way of enriching the football association. It isn’t going to stop racism.Kevin’s experience was particularly interesting to me because of the debate it sparked. Several black players congratulated Kevin. Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and the executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, Piara Powar both saluted him for taking the supposed courageous stride.
The way out
One person who was actually thinking like me is Ex Milan Star, Clarence Seedorf. He told BBC Radio 5 live in an interview: “I don’t feel it’s such a fabulous thing. These people will feel empowered now.”
“walking away? Yes, you send a signal. But this has happened more than once and I don’t think It really changes all that much. We are just empowering that little group with their behaviour to make this mess”. That’s the message I was trying to emphasis in the first part of this post on why I think the racism problem may never end (1). Dramatic reactions or even noise is definitely not the way to go. Walking off the pitch isn’t either.
As long as these racists know we would react strangely, they will never stop. As long as they know they can get on our nerves by their chants, they’ll just go on.
You want to fight racism, then IGNORE THE RACIST AND RACISM WILL DIE A NATURAL DEATH!