Shaka Hislop speaks out
SRtRC Honorary President comments on the recent incidents in English football
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Shaka Hislop, Show Racism the Red Card’s Honorary President has sent his thoughts about the recent high profile events in football.
“All of English football and its fans are desperate to move on from the scenes and stories that have hogged the headlines for too long in recent weeks. At least before the summer when we are dragged right back in to the debate as England go to the Euros, with or without John Terry or either of the Ferdinand’s, and the impending court case drags us right back in.
Manchester United- Liverpool games are never for the faint-hearted, but the recent turn has become worrying. In a tribal show of support for either club their fans have lost sight of what’s right and what is wrong. More worrying though is that the managers and players have been equally blinded.
Initially, I was encouraged by the fact that black players were no longer standing for racist abuse on or off the pitch, accepting it as an unfortunate part of the game. Reporting it to the authorities, not taking the law in to their own hands, the right thing to do. That’s what we, and everyone else, have always been told and encouraged to do, as you believe that players are unified in their condemnation of racism in all forms and determined to stamp it out of the beautiful game. We’ve been reminded of how a game and loyalties blur the lines.
From the ridiculous show of T-shirt wearing support by the Liverpool players and manager, to the handshake that never was, to the incessant racist abuse on social media networks aimed at all who dared comment on it, one way or the other, were subject to serve as a harsh reminder of how far we still have to go as footballer supporters, as players, as human beings.
Sceptics will say that football’s existence was always that fragile, and that those of us who thought otherwise were blinded by our love for what we thought was a beautiful game. I believe in the game though, even if sometimes its main players let me down. Whoever you support, whoever you may blame for all of this, two of the biggest names in the game have damaged it, but not irreversibly. We all have a responsibility to muck in, pick up the pieces, and restore the game to its original beauty. Maybe it starts with a handshake, but it’ll take a lot more than that.”