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Racism in Football and a Tale of its Victimised Black Stars

The 21st century dawned a new era of change; change set to embark on unity around the world but racism is still as pronounced as it was in the past. It still exists in our day-to-day lives. The sad bit is that it is still prevalent in sports especially when the activity is regarded as one of the most unifying platforms for all people, regardless of their background.

We take a look at some of the black sports stars who have faced racism and how it has affected them.

Eniola Aluko

Nigerian Eniola Aluko who plays for the England National team encountered racism from the person who was supposed to protect her – coach Mark Sampson. Aluko says that Sampson told her ‘to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a friendly with Germany!’

She did not sit back and let him get away with it as she went ahead and filed a complaint that saw Mark Sampson sacked as England Women’s head coach.

Romelu Lukaku

When Manchester United fans composed a song for Romelu Lukaku, they chose to celebrate the size of his private parts instead of his talent. The lyrics go as,

“Romelu Lukaku,

“He’s our Belgium scoring genius,

“He’s got a 24-inch penis,

“Scoring all the goals,

“B*****d to his toes”

Lukaku took to twitter and said, “Fans have meant well with their songs but let’s move on together. #RespectEachOther”

It is not the first time the Belgian has been a victim of racism. Lukaku’s mother used to carry his birth certificate to prove his place of birth and age at his youth matches as some parents were in doubt of the then young boy because he was bigger and physically stronger than most 12 or 14-year-olds.

Mario Balotelli

In countries like Italy and Russia, black players face the worst form of racism. Mario Balotelli said, “Racism makes me feel alone.”

Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger also declared that racism remains rife in Italian football.

“Racism is a serious issue here. Incidents like the ones with Benatia and me simply happen too often in this country and that is why something must happen now. When the Italian FA is not doing anything then FIFA must act.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”It is easy to come up with the ‘No to racism’ campaign but when you don’t do anything concrete then that does not help.”[/perfectpullquote]

Everton Luiz, the Partizan Belgrade midfielder, left the pitch in tears after he was racially abused by sections of a rival club’s supporters.

Everton Luiz

Partizan Belgrade’s Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz leaves the field in tears on February 19, 2017, at the end of a Serbian championship match between Partizan and Rad, after racist remarks from Rad’s supporters, Serbian television B92 reported. Every time he touched the ball, 28-year-old Everton Luiz was being monkey-screamed from a group of supporters of Rad Belgrade, the source said. Shortly before the end, the match was briefly interrupted when Rad supporters also waved a banner with an insulting message against the Brazilian. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images

He was subjected to monkey noises and jeers throughout the match and told reporters, “I’ve been suffering racist abuse during the entire 90 minutes and also was upset by the home players, who supported that.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”They were all attacking me. I want to forget this as soon as possible. I love Serbia and the people here that is why I cried. But please say no to racism.”[/perfectpullquote]

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure also expressed his discomfort when he was racially abused by CSKA Moscow fans. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”It’s difficult to deal with that. As a sportsman, you want to finish the game but when you hear that [monkey chants], it breaks you. It’s not easy to experience that.”[/perfectpullquote]

Some players have taken action amidst racist chants. Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch when racist abuses were hurled from the stands.

Kevin-Prince Boateng

AC Milan’s Ghanaian defender Kevin-Prince Boateng warms up wearing a jersey against the racism prior to the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Siena on January 6, 2013, at the San Siro stadium in Milan. Boateng was subjected to racist taunts by Pro Patria fans during a friendly on January 3, 2013, and the German-born Ghanaian forward responded by storming off the pitch in protest followed by his Milan teammates. (AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

samuel Etoo

Barcelona’s Samuel Eto of Cameroon (L) argues with the referee as he wants to leave the field after racist insults of the crowd during the match against Zaragoza during their Spanish League football match at the Romareda Stadium in Zaragoza, 25 February 2006. Eto suffered racist insults during the match. AFP PHOTO/CESAR RANGEL (Photo credit should read CESAR RANGEL/AFP/Getty Images

On the Zaragoza incident, the former Cameroon international and Barcelona star said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Sometimes, the fact that you’re a footballer makes you think that racism can’t happen to you because you bring that passion and you express a lot of things. When it happened to me, I couldn’t believe it and in that moment, I decided to walk off the pitch. You’re born with love, you learn hatred; that was something I learnt that day.”[/perfectpullquote]




Featured Photo: Getty Images


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