Support from far a field as Sunday League football are joining in the English football-wide omission from Twitter and Instagram etc to make it clear to social media companies that more must be done to eradicate online hate, also highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination within all walks of life.
The stand is, of course, against the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players, staff and many others connected to football and the wider community.
It is good to see the football community against all forms of discrimination, because abhorrent online abuse will not be tolerated. It is not expected that the 4-day boycott from 30 April to 4 May 2021 by the big names in the Premier League will eradicate abuse, however it does demonstrate that football is willing to take proactive steps in this continued fight against discrimination.
As lock-down restrictions begin to ease, it is good to see sport and physical activity providers – such as clubs, groups and venues – plan for reopening.
The NHS stated that: “The impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is still having an impact on everyone’s lives. This can cause everyone, including a professional footballer, to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. Everyone feels different sometimes. It’s important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently – for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. Help needs to be offered to support mental health and well-being during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help an athlete to think clearly and to help them look after themselves.”
Professional athletes in football and rugby have trained and managed their own mental health in the midst of racism, demands by fans for high performances on the pitch and during training – all of this can have an impact on a sportsman/women especially if an athlete is living with a vulnerable adult.
Gov.UK advises that there are clear guidelines on how athletes and staff who are deemed vulnerable, or are in a household with vulnerable people, should not interact with the training environment or engage in training. Ensuring that prior to the resumption of training, all athletes and staff who are engaged in the training environment are formally appraised of the risks and all mitigating steps being taken. It will be for individual sports to agree with their athletes conditions enabling to return back to the sport action.
In the UK and beyond, professional and Olympic athletes have been striving to maintain their strict training regimes, whilst adhering to lock-down restrictions. Whilst some people may be excited about returning to work, sessions and facilities, early evidence shows that many will be returning to play with even poorer mental health due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
Whether in Australia or elsewhere, racial abuse has no place in sport. This comes after Test cricketer were abused.
This has compelled Team India to lodge an official complaint with ICC. There are no excuses here because Abusive spectators should be held accountable and served life bans from entering cricket stadiums. Understandably, passions can run high during a cricket game and spectators can get caught up in the heat of the moment. However, the abusing players is totally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.
“Players should be able to also to focus on their own business (sport) rather than bring outside maters into the limelight. If spectators are punished then a day will come players will have to play without spectators. Cricketers will have to bear the loss of spectators and its financial implications. Those who are intolerant to spectators should learn how to do so and not bring any hazard to the board and sports.”
The supporters who engage in this disgraceful rejection of anti-racism think they’ve won. The game has done a lot to clean up its image, but it was undone in seconds when some fans booed players kneeling for Black Lives Matter. When both sets of players decide to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement an encounter begins with a small number of the crowd being heard booing.
On the other hand, the Environment Secretary (2020) George Eustice said: “There has been problems obviously with racism in football in the past. It is right that that is called out and challenged when we see it.
“It doesn’t have any place in society today and if people choose to express their view in a particular way that should always be respected.”
He added: “I know obviously the issue of race and racial discrimination is something that we all take very, very seriously.
“My personal view is that Black Lives Matter – capital B, L and M – is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in, which is standing up for racial equality.
“Each individual can take their own choices about how they reflect this and I know a number of people feel quite strongly and have taken that approach.”
The whole controversy began with Margaret Court preaching from the pulpit in her position as senior pastor at her church in Australia. To say that tennis is “full of lesbians” can also sit alongside, “there is too much drugs in sport”. Whenever I mention or, to my surprise, a person remembers my endeavors in sport they automatically assume there was constant scenes of women “getting together” in changing rooms. I admired my time in tennis, however, it came with bullying, discrimination, disillusionment and long periods of loneliness. That is why playing doubles was encouraged and rushing into a bad relationship was discouraged. I don’t believe the history books should remove Margaret (or anyone else) from tennis and especially the titles she won just because one does not conform. Moreover, sporting records are there to be broken. In the bible the LGBT community are seen as rebels rebelling against society and even Christ’s views. Margaret along with the other great women/athletes who won all four Grand Slam major titles in one season should be remembered. What should be kicked out of sport are subdivisions as well as racism. Today, as a Christian and pastor of a church – Margaret Court should be bringing to our sport peace and healing, and not the discomfort of anxiety and scandal.
The Independent newspaper (July 2020) have reported that Arsenal Fan TV have removed regular guest Claude has received a life ban after he made a racist remark about Tottenham Hotspur’s forward Son Heung-Min.
During the North London derby between Spurs and Arsenal, Claude Callegari was heard to say “DVD’s going off” when Son was substituted late in the match.
The term ‘DVD’ is a derogatory slur aimed at Asian people, which depicts them as someone who sells illegal DVDs.
After receiving a social media backlash for the comment, Claude appeared on a second AFTV video with its owner Robbie Lyle – where they appeared to try and explain that the remark was not derogatory but an attempt to mock Spurs.
It was claimed that the term DVD was in reference to the club making a DVD to remember their 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the weekend, but the fact that the wording used by Claude didn’t fit with that suggestion and that it came just when Son was going off the pitch meant that viewers did not believe his interpretation.
Formula One motor racing legend, Bernie Ecclestone, has given several extraordinary interviews regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and insists that the sport does not have a problem with racism. However, the commissioning of Lewis Hamilton as a Black Lives Matter as political campaigner caused a rift within the motoring world. Lewis Hamilton accepted the role as a Black Lives Matter ambassador in remembrance of the death of America’s George Floyd whilst in police custody following on from a minor incident Minnesota. It was in June 2020 that Lewis began his aim of pushing society and motor sport towards increased diversity. Bernie Ecclestone commented on Lewis Hamilton’s actions by saying he would be “very unhappy if Lewis took past instances of racist abuse seriously”. And, also that “in lots of cases black people are more racist than white people are”.
Speaking to CNN Sport, Bernie Ecclestone expressed his view that no one in F1 has taken systemic racism seriously because they are “too busy trying to win races”.
The FA’s intention is to resume the Premier League around 1 June. However, it seems that the top BAME footballers players in the UK are divided because of the safety to players, staff and officials cannot be guaranteed, therefore most are not comfortable to play. That is why concerns about safety of the Premier League season resuming has been raised – because of the contemplation what the worst outcome could be because it is not seen as a safe sport.