In sports today, the issue of racism is still apparent.
Recently, 19-year-old Juventus player Kean, took a stand agaisnt racism when celebrating his goal. He stood with open arms facing the opposition crowd, who were making racist chants towards him. After the game, Kean uploaded a photo of himself after scoring the goal to Instagram, captioning it: “Best way to respond to racism”.
In 2014 Dani Alves, a PSG defender, responded to racism in a humorous but extremely powerful way. When a member of a crowd threw a banana at him, instead of getting angry and aggressive, he picked it up, peeled the banana and then took a bite out of it.
Racism is obviously an unfair act. Should the colour of your skin really mean that people have a different opinion of you? Should the colour of skin really overshadow the skills you display playing the game you love?
The worst thing about racism in sport is that cases are increasing and we regularly see racism is creeping into the news. It is getting to the point where multiple accounts of racism are being reported every week. Is this behaviour becoming normalised?
At the end of the day, football is a sport and us fans need to make sure that we respect every player, no matter their skin colour. Currently, the fans – you and I – are the problem.
We can change the current path of racism. I have noticed some of the older generation fans encouraging young fans to refer to players with a racist slur or offensive nickname. This has, in turn, made a cycle where racism is being passed down through generations. Let’s break this ridiculous cycle.
Another way to break the cycle is with punishments. Punishments should be firmer for everyone – even football players. Players earn at least £30,000 a week and are only subjected to a £15,000 fine and a five-match ban. It is no wonder players don’t restrain themselves.
Tottenham defender Danny Rose responded to FIFA’s punishment, saying: “Obviously it is a bit sad. But when countries only get fined what I’d probably spend on a night out in London, what would you expect?” This just shows how little the current fine really effects them.
I strongly believe that if we all come together, we can make football live up to the standard of what it has always been quoted as: the beautiful game.