Racism in Soccer: Essay

How is the foreign media really portraying racism in soccer?  This is a question that is very hard to answer at this point in time.  It got me really thinking that there can be multiple answers to this question, but I needed to search to find those answers.  We see racism in soccer a lot nowadays and I really wanted to figure out if anything at all was being done to stop it or if it was being provoked by the media.

In a recent New York Times article, Soccer Racism Prompts Walkout, and Outrage, it explained the recent outburst of racism in an Italian friendly match.  The fans of one team decided to make monkey noises towards the opposing teams black players.  One of the players, Kevin Prince-Boateng, had enough of the racist noises and picked up the ball, kicked it at them and walked off the field.  CNN London acted upon this racism perfectly.  They contacted Kevin and had him come in to do an interview about what had happened.  CNN was providing first hand evidence to the world on how bad racism really was in soccer, but other foreign media sources weren’t on the same page.

Others had questioned if Prince-Boateng would have left the field if the game had actually counted and wasn’t just a friendly.  They took the focus off the gruesome acts of racism from the fans and decided to focus more upon Kevin’s decision to walk off the field.  This is where the media makes their mistake about racism in soccer.  Not enough media sources are showing the world what is really going on and the acts of racism that occur in the beautiful game.  Social media on the other hand is doing one of the best jobs in the media getting the word out about racism.  After the event, Kevin tweeted, “Shame that these things still happen.”  Others began tweeting back to him showing their support and praising him for walking off the field.  “Kick racism out” and other topics began to trend on twitter the day Kevin walked off the field.

Racism isn’t always frowned upon in some countries.  The most absurd act of provoking racism by the media, that I’ve ever seen, was done by the Italian media during the Euro 2012 tournament.  An article from Yale Daily News, Racism in Soccer, provided an example of racism about Italy’s black striker, Mario Balotelli.  The article said, “Before playing against England in the quarterfinals of the Euros this past summer, Balotelli appeared in an Italian sports newspaper as the cartoon character King Kong climbing on Big Ben.”  I thought this was incredibly racist and that we would never see something like this in our newspapers here in America.  The Italian media is actually provoking racism with this little cartoon.  That wasn’t all though, the same newspaper posted another story days later after Balotelli scored twice against Germany.  The articles states, “”The day after scoring two beautiful goals in their scintillating semifinal victory over Germany, Balotelli appeared on the front page of another Italian sports paper under the headline, “We made them black!” The comment was a pun on bruising the opposition, but also, of course, on the color of Balotelli’s skin.”  So we can clearly see not enough is being done to stop racism in the world of soccer.  With the Italian media provoking racism like this it makes stopping racism even harder in the soccer world.

“Say no to Racism” is a great campaign to stop racism.

Players stand behind a 'Say No To Racism' banner prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

FIFA created this campaign and it is constantly seen throughout the game of soccer.  Before a number of important matches players from both teams gather around a banner that says “Say no to Racism” and take a picture (shown above).  The campaign is even shown in the video game FIFA 13.  It is a worldwide attempt to stop racism and the media is portraying it very well.

An article on EBSCOhost provided very good examples of how the media is trying to somewhat stop racism by criticizing the soccer association.  In certain occasions the soccer association in Europe has fined fans and players for racist comments or gestures made.  The thing is, these associations aren’t fining the guilty players and fans enough.  The media is blasting the soccer association for fining players, who are innocent of racism, more than those guilty of these racist acts.  An example this article provided was about Nicklas Bendtner, of Denmark.  He was fined $125,800 for exposing the logo of an online betting company on his boxer shorts.  Meanwhile, the Serbian Football Association was only fined $105,000 for racist chants and noises coming from their fans aimed at black players from the England national team.  In this whole situation the media is doing the correct thing.  They are criticizing the soccer association of Europe for not fining racists as much as they deserved to be fined.  As long as the media continues to do so the association should recognize their mistakes and learn from it.

Speaking about the incident in Serbia, the media did an awful job presenting the racism there.  An Under 21 international game between England and Serbia back in October turned sour after the final whistle as Danny Rose kicked a ball at the Serbian fans, began ironically clapping and walked off the field making ape gestures; and on top of that he received a red card for doing so.  Rose explained that he had been hearing monkey noises and racist names coming from the Serbian fans all game.  A couple other of his black teammates backed him up on his statement, claiming they had heard the fans as well.  Policymic’s article, Danny Rose Racism Scandal, explained the story and how there wasn’t enough being done by anyone to stop the racism going on.  What the media should be doing here is blasting the referee and the Serbian supporters.  How could the referee possibly give Rose a red card in this situation?  Both are unfortunate events that need to be noticed by the world and it’s the media’s job to show the world.

CBC News’ video is a good example of trying to kick racism out of soccer.  The video is attempting to evoke emotion out of the viewer and turn them against racism in soccer as well.  The two players accused of racist comments in the video, John Terry and Luis Suarez, are frowned upon in the video.  Even though it does seem harsh it is the right thing to do in this situation because it is really helping the viewers realize what not to do.  The video is fair though because it shows both sides of the argument.  CBC interview a man who supports the team of the player making racist comments; and he believes the player is innocent.  Towards the end of the video the reporter says some very powerful words, “There’s been a very clear message sent to British soccer…racism on the pitch will no longer be tolerated.”  It’s a great closing statement because it sends a powerful message through to the viewer.  More videos like these from the media could prove very helpful to fight against racism in soccer.

The foreign media is trying to stop racism in soccer and prevent people from performing racist acts, but they are also provoking it and letting it slip by unnoticed at the same time.  I learned that there are things being done to stop racism in the soccer world, but it’s not enough.  Some foreign media sources aren’t doing the right things to kick racism out of soccer and are actually provoking it.  It is very upsetting that we still have to deal with racism in soccer these days and I would love to help to stop it.  Unfortunately, one person can’t make a difference in this situation and we need the media to continue fighting against it.  We can only hope that soon every media source in the world will take a stand against racism and kick it out of soccer once and for all.

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