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What's the deal with racism in football??

(13 Posts)
itsatiggerday Wed 17-Oct-12 19:27:42

So I know next to nothing about football and don't especially feel the need to change that. But I just can't get my head around the news items today about the England U-21 match and the racism thing and have to admit I didn't pay much attention to the Terry-Ferdinand thing.

Why is racism still an issue in football? Is it a major problem in club football in the UK or was Terry-Ferdinand a bit of an anachronism? Why are fans looking at athletes demonstrating skill and athleticism for 90 minutes for their entertainment and making monkey chants? Did anyone even think of doing that when watching Mo Farah power his way through 10k & 5k at a speed I couldn't manage for 10m or 5m? So in what possible context is this still happening to professional footballers?

And what's the domestic situation in Serbia (and Kazakhstan? Russia? Weren't they countries there were similar concerns??). Are they being fed racist propaganda on an institutional level a la Nazi Germany? Or is it a reaction to a relatively small minority population with BNP anti-immigration type hysteria?

I just can't quite get my head around the idea that in 2012 with the kind of admiration we've seen all summer for accomplished athletic feats, football players are seriously having to deal with such outrageous ignorance and abuse.

Does anyone have any light to shed?

lljkk Wed 17-Oct-12 19:32:13

What's the deal with Football fans being allowed to behave like obnoxious Gits? Rude 4-letter chants, hooliganism, having to be corralled off in case they get into violence with the opposing supporters. Do you see all that happening at Cricket or Cycling events? So why is it shrugged off as normal at Football? That's how I see it. Racism is just one more way for them to be aggressive and obnoxious. It's part of the culture of Football fandom to be an Arse.

Pippinintherain Wed 17-Oct-12 20:25:51

lljkk, that's a bit of a sweeping statement about football fans.

I've been attending matches for years and the majority of supporters are pleasant people, not aggressive and obnoxious.

In answer to the OP, I don't know but it saddens me. I think there are people in all walks of life who have racist views and I cannot get my head round it. I know that people are brought up with that type of thinking but it baffles me as much as the next sane person.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Oct-12 09:19:30

"Why is racism still an issue in football?"

Because individuals are nice people but mobs are unreasonable. In the anonymity of a crowd that is encouraged to shout and chant, normally nice people feel able to say and do things they wouldn't have the courage to do solo. An ignorant man with a vocabulary and a captain's armband is still an ignorant man. I don't particularly know why racism is singled out as being especially bad .... any kind of abusive or aggressive behaviour is unacceptable in a civilised society, surely?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Oct-12 09:20:14

with a 'poor' vocabulary... that should have said

qo Thu 18-Oct-12 09:22:08

Homophobia is also rife in association football

JaquelineHyde Thu 18-Oct-12 09:30:01

The fact that racism is an issue in any walk of life puzzles, angers, and saddens me.

In some countries unfortunately it is more widespread than others, but there are pockets of society in every country where racism thrives.

Obviously with a thread like this there will be some idiots who come on and make sweeping generalisations about football fans being all sorts of holligans and thugs but in reality that isn't the case and by spouting such crap they just show their ignorance much like the ignorance racists show when they spout their hate filled crap.

itsatiggerday Thu 18-Oct-12 10:10:57

That's interesting Cogito that you think it's mob mentality.

I had the impression that widespread violence was a rarity in UK football now (as I said I don't know that much about football so maybe I've missed this). The kind of scenes I remember from the 80s just don't appear now - at least in this country - so I assumed if any incidents occurred it was in the realms of a one off for specific reasons rather than endemic. Whereas the news items are suggesting this kind of racist abuse is routine. Are they really all joining in out of ignorance or because it just seems like they can. I just cannot imagine people I know disowning their brain, ethics and basic humanity so entirely as to join in something like this.

Maybe football matches are one of the few places that people collect in large numbers on a regular basis now. Cricket the crowds are expected to be quiet rather than hyping the teams aren't they. And rugby has seemed to have a different heritage. Boxing - that would be a comparable situation - is it smaller crowds and violence seems more threatening in an indoor environment? There are black / mixed race / indian boxers though - do they have to cope with anything similar does anyone know? Did Amir Khan?

qo there are articles periodically on how hard it is to come out in lots of pro sports aren't there? But I guess it's not a 'visible' thing like skin colour so it's pressure not to go public rather than something they have to endure regardless of what they've ever said.

lljkk Thu 18-Oct-12 10:33:56

It's something in the culture of football fandom. Obviously not most fans, Not even a large minority, but there's a tolerance even among the most mild-mannered fans for letting others in the crowd behave like that.

Didn't see obnoxious violence & chanting etc. at the 2012 Olympics, either. Fan violence is on the increase in the USA, but still considered quite shocking and unpredictable. British football-fan tribalism is cultural, little to do with the anonymity of a large crowd.

It's like British binge drinking culture. Such a contrast with normal public manners. You have to see it to believe it.

Bossybritches22 Thu 18-Oct-12 11:00:54

It happens in football because many (not allI know) of the overpaid louts that are the main money makers for clubs, would be hanging around street corners, witj ASBO:s were it not for a talent with their left foot. With role models like these the fans behave accordingly.

Until the FA + clubs insist on good standards of behaviour and manners from their players + train them to certain standard, it will never improve.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Oct-12 11:18:19

"I just cannot imagine people I know disowning their brain, ethics and basic humanity so entirely as to join in something like this."

Can't you really? Remember the riots in summer 2011 when we discovered that outwardly nice, normal, intelligent, law-abiding people were among those smashing windows and looting goods? They're getting away with it so why can't I? 'Individuals' are ethical... 'people' are not.

In a football crowd situation - and I've witnessed it myself - all it takes is a few loud-mouths to start the chanting or bad behaviour. Takes a brave spectator to stand up in the face of that and say 'You over there... I disagree with your distasteful views on the race/sexuality/parentage of the players/referee/opposing fans!' So some will say nothing (which in itself is risky) but quite a few will join in with the chanting so that they don't become a target.

itsatiggerday Thu 18-Oct-12 11:51:04

See that's what I guess I haven't witnessed - I don't know any real football fans! And to sound totally cosseted and middle class, we watched the riots etc with the same perspective. But you're right, there were people involved who were shocked retrospectively that they were involved in those. I hadn't realised that simply not joining in would make you a target in any case. Guess I won't be going to watch any football matches any time soon!

And bossybritches - I've always wondered whether it was fair to think that of football players and they aren't unique, plenty of other celebrities get caught drink driving, we've just had Justin whatsisname on abuse and domestic violence. But it does seem like football players remain on their pedestal regardless. Don't know what will happen to Ched Evans, but he has a lot of fans seemingly still.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 19-Oct-12 11:46:05

"I hadn't realised that simply not joining in would make you a target in any case"

My first experience of a football match crowd was back in the eighties. Being more of a Rugby Union & Cricket fan where it's the norm to acknowledge good play on both sides with polite applause, I made the mistake of clapping when the opposing team scored a goal. Learned a few new swear words that day.... confused and didn't go back to a football match for a long, long time.

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