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It is sad, and sometimes unbelievable, to see that racism and hatred is still shouted both from the crowd and from the players in this day and age. Through the many decades of civil rights movements and the obvious equality of human beings, you would expect this problem to have disappeared with the ages a long time ago. Toonarians Alex Shaw and Brian Anderson look into this issue.
In Italy, Poland, and other European countries, racist behavior towards players and fans in the game of soccer has been around since its beginning in the mid-twentieth century, and the problem continues to steadily grow.
The most recent event of racism in the sport was during a match in Russia between Zenit St. Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala. A Zenit fan was photographed offering the captain of Anzhi, Brazilian-born Roberto Carlos, a banana just before the start of the game. Although Zenit announced shortly after that there was going to be a full investigation into the situation, in this day in age, nothing like this should be happening.
According to an anonymous Italian league official that spoke with ABC News, the immigration of non-Italian players to teams in the Series A is “new” to the league. It has been many decades since racism and hooliganism caused widespread problems throughout the United Kingdom and other leagues in Europe. How has this gone unchecked or unpunished?
It is hard to fix a problem that even the president of FIFA does not seem to notice. This past November, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, made headlines all over the world with his comments that downplayed the racism that was happening on the field between players and saying that players involved in such clashes should settle things with a handshake.
These comments were criticized, not only by many officials, but also by players in the English Premier League. Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, whose brother was on the receiving end of a racial slur by Chelsea defender, John Terry, at the beginning of this season, wrote on Twitter how Blatter’s “comments on racism are so condescending, it’s almost laughable.”
Of course, many credible campaigns such as ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ have shined light on the ongoing problem that has been hidden in the stands for a long time. However, it seems that the damage has already been done to the older generations that are still attending soccer matches. It seems that the only thing that can be done now is educate the youth, the future of the beautiful game of soccer, and hope the racism that now plagues the sport will die out quietly along with the fans that support such beliefs.