Sadly, racism is still rife in football as highlighted in the tryst between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, Luis Suarez’s abusive comments towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011 and more recently the racist insults aimed at the England Under 21s team in their game against Serbia last week.
It all seems to have come to a head as some players have refused to take part in Kick It Out’s annual week of action against racism. Players, including Jason Roberts and Rio Ferdinand, decided not to wear a t-shirt supporting the charity at their games over the weekend.
It seems that a big reason that these players are annoyed is because of the lenient punishment that the FA gave John Terry for his actions; he received a four match ban and was ordered to pay a £220,000 fine. Terry still kept his place as the Chelsea captain and the fine will barely make a dent in his £150,000-a-week salary. It makes me angry and I’m not even a football fan!
I am not a fan of John Terry (who is?) and I am all for a more severe punishment for him. He is a multi millionaire and a £220,000 fine is not a big enough wake up call for someone who is supposed to be a role model to the next generation of football players and supporters.
Although I completely agree that the players have the right to protest against the Kick It Out campaign I do not support reports that some black and minority players are planning to start their own players union. Creating further racial divides is not the way to remedy this situation and the FA really needs to look into what they can do to build bridges between players.
It will be a long road but we have already made great strides from the 70s and 80s when players thought that racial abuse was just part of the game; it isn’t, and something must be done to stop it completely.