Everyone’s lining up to give Sepp Blatter a kicking, with good cause. He is after all the head of the world governing body for football and has shown, with his latest remarks about racism, just how out of touch he is with the realities of the game.
In Blatter’s world, racism can be resolved with a friendly handshake. Although he also claims that there is no racism in football, so one assumes that there is no call for a handshake let alone action to tackle it. The fact that Blatter believes this nonsense is shocking enough, but that he would choose the very week in which the FA announce they are to charge two footballers with racism, is unbelievable and deserving of the censure and revulsion that his remarks have garnered.
Blatter’s time has come, and it’s looking increasingly likely that this latest gaffe will be his undoing. Will the issue of racism in football follow?
It is no bad thing for racism to be on the front pages and for people, who would ordinarily be silent, to clamour to denounce the latest unsavoury comment. It is the silence that will eventually settle over this latest incidence that is of concern. Racism still blights lives, and we need to keep talking about it. For some, it is a daily occurrence, one that they may not even disclose to friends and family because it’s pervasiveness means that it has for them become something to be endured.
There are many shades of racism. There are the intellects who take to the pages of our broadsheets to opine on the perils of political correctness, the fascists who shout their unvarnished racism for all to hear and everything that lies inbetween. If your instinctive response to racism is to deny it exists, to dilutes its affect and belittle the victim, you are part of the problem. If you stay silent when you should speak out, you are part of the problem. If you’re reading this and you think that the case for racism has been overstated, you are part of the problem.
Fifa’s response to the Blatter controversy was to post a picture on its website of him hugging a black man. That’s the equivalent of someone denying they’re racist because they have black friends. Fifa is part of the problem. Are you?
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