Show Racism the Red Card is appalled by Steve Doughty's article about racism within football
Show Racism the Red Card is appalled by Steve Doughty’s article in the Daily Mail: Football might not be perfect but it's come a long way since racism in the 1970s [live link]
The article outlines the recent alleged racist abuse towards Patrice Evra and Anton Ferdinand and concludes with the words:
“Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, I know you feel insulted. But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game,” adding that, “there are worse things to complain about”.
It is ludicrous to suggest that players should simply “put up with” racist abuse.
Racism should never be tolerated – unless we want to return to the days where widespread racist abuse was a weekly feature of football, ‘putting up and shutting up’ is not an option. We cannot achieve equality by ignoring racism, equality is something that we must continually strive towards. This is something that football clubs clearly recognise through their ongoing support of anti-racism initiatives, such as the work of Show Racism the Red Card. The steps that have been taken to remove racism from the game are numerous and include: improved legislation, education, fans’ campaigns and bans for racist supporters; these combined actions have all had a positive impact on reducing levels of racism within stadia.
Doughty argues that football clubs are “promoting a kick racism out of football campaign, beyond the point of boredom.” It is revealing that Doughty sees anti-racism campaigns as tedious, as if he believes racism to be a thing of the past, a topic we no longer need to address.
We can rightly celebrate the work that has been done to tackle racism within the game. Racist chants that were once common-place in stadia are thankfully something we rarely hear. However, incidents of alleged racism this week towards Patrice Evra and Anton Ferdinand demonstrate that racism has not vanished entirely from football.
Doughty correctly acknowledges that football reflects wider society and as such it is distressing that the advice he offers is just to put up with racism.
Footballers are role models for young people. In their support of our campaign, they speak out against racism and are consistent in their message to young people: “always tell a teacher or an adult if you receive racism. It is not something you should ever have to put up with”.
We have recently published a research document addressing the barriers to tackling racism and promoting race equality. The report states that racism between pupils remains widespread in schools and is a regular fact of life for many pupils. Targeted pupils may become scared, depressed and lacking in self-confidence and this can impact heavily on their progress at school. Pupils on the receiving end of racial harassment may not share their experiences with parents or teachers. They are often wary of reporting their experiences with worries about ‘grassing’, being dismissed or making the situation worse.
It is vital that we continue to develop a culture where racism is not acceptable in any guise.