Will Racism Ever Stop?

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Will Racism Ever Stop?

Jacob Vincent, Writer

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Football is a sport that is extremely popular across the world arguably the most popular. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been playing high level football for over 15 years, mentally and physically fighting for the top spot in their era of football. Both labeled as GOATS, Greatest of All Time, a competitive battle we may never be able to see again. Then we have Neymar Jr. who is the most expensive player in history at a world record fee of 222 million euros. World record attendances such as the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain breaking the La Liga’s record high at 99,354 attendees. Cristiano has the most followers on Instagram sitting at 188 million followers. Although we have the amazing things in this sport, over the years, players have been trying to prevent racism in football and trying to create awareness across the world. Showing the unity between the players. Captain armbands with a #SayNoToRacism on them, #SayNoToRacism billboards across the field, and both teams taking pictures mixed among each other with a #SayNoToRacism billboards held amongst them before game time.

In a European night in Sophia, Bulgaria, a European Qualification match was played on October 14, 2019 between England and Bulgaria. England is heavily populated with people of color, especially in the National Team. The people of color on the National team claimed that the Bulgarian fans were chanting racial slurs particularly at Tyrone Mings, a 26 year-old center back from Aston Villa. The racist chants were coming from sections of the Bulgarian fans who, clustered together – many dressed in black, their faces half concealed by hoods – made monkey chants and gave Nazi salutes. Mings also claims that the chants began before the game even started. Although these sickening chants happened, commentators reported that they played with “dignity” and let their feet do the talking, thrashing their opponents 6-0. After the match, Bulgaria manager, Krasimir Balakov, said, “He didn’t hear anything.” Worse than that, he demanded  that before any action is taken the racism that England’s players had suffered had to be “proved to be true.” Overall a very serious topic and he questioned England’s black players and their professionalism. Later that week, Balakov resigned from the head coach role.

Shockingly as well, the racist chants were heavily predicted because of another European qualification night in Sophia in 1960, a replicate game between Bulgaria vs England. If they were predicted, why wasn’t anything done? 

Over the past months, various racist experiences have been shared all over football sources and social media. Mario Balotelli had a tough moment vs. Hellas Verona as he faced some racial abuse by the Home fans in Verona, Italy, and his reaction was astonishing as he kicked the ball at the home fans and tried to walk off the field but he was convinced to stay on and a warning was sent out to the fans. In England, if any fans gets caught racially abusing a player, they get banned from coming to watch their team plan. Italy is a quite common country for racism and many black players have faced racial abuse such as Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and Asamoah from Inter Milan. The list could go on and no action is taken.  In the reaction of Balotelli, you could get red carded for and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian captain, Taison got it the hard way in Kyiv, Ukraine, leaving the field in tears. He shared his thoughts after the match saying, “ I will never shut up in inhuman and despicable act.” 

Last week during the International break, in a European Qualification match between Netherlands vs. Estonia, 5 minutes into the game, Georginio Wijnaldum scores the opener and he invites Frenkie De Jong for a powerful celebration that has been shared by hundreds across all social media. Sending a very influential message and making a positive impact using football.

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