Racism is dis­gust­ing and should be a thing of the past but it’s not

Bray People - - SPORT - Daniel’s take on all things soc­cer

ON SUN­DAY evening, one Vil­lar­real fan showed that racism was still alive and well in the world. Barcelona de­fender Dani Alves was pre­par­ing to take a cor­ner at the time, when a banana was thrown in his di­rec­tion at El Madri­gal.

Alves in­stantly strolled for­ward, scooped up the banana, peeled it and took a healthy chunk out of it be­fore get­ting back on with the game.

With that sim­ple act, Alves showed how stupid, hor­ri­ble and clue­less racism is. I should not be re­fer­ring to racism in the present tense but I have to be­cause it is still out there, like a hor­ri­ble, in­cur­able virus.

With that act of bril­liance, not only did Alves take a bite out of the banana, he took a bite out of racism.

Alves was very mat­ter of fact about the in­ci­dent af­ter the match, say­ing: “We have suf­fered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of hu­mour”.

But why, in 2014, should some­one sub­ject them­selves to hav­ing to put up and shut up with racism?

The Brazil­ian’s re­ac­tion was ge­nius, and within mo­ments had gone vi­ral as sup­port flooded in for him, while dis­dain flew around the in­ter­net for the sad in­di­vid­ual who had thrown the banana.

Alves and co. had the last laugh though. His side came back to win 2-3 and keep their ti­tle hopes alive, and the dis­gust­ing hu­man in ques­tion re­ceived a life­time ban from El Madri­gal. And it was even nicer to hear that it was his fel­low sup­port­ers that had helped to iden­tify him. A Vil­lar­real state­ment stated “thanks to the se­cu­rity forces and the in­valu­able as­sis­tance of the Yel­low crowd, the club has al­ready iden­ti­fied the per­son and has de­cided to with­draw his sea­son tick­ets, per­ma­nently ban­ning his ac­cess to El Madri­gal sta­dium”.

This shows that racism is at least a tiny ma­jor­ity, and people are still will­ing to make a stand against it.

Alves’ fel­low pro­fes­sion­als were also quick to stand be­hind Alves. Ney­mar, Mario Balotelli, Ser­gio Aguero and Luis Suarez were just some of the stars that took to so­cial me­dia to back up Barcelona’s right back, as they posed pic­tures of them­selves chomp­ing into ba­nanas.

Racism is dis­gust­ing and should be a thing of the past. Un­for­tu­nately, it is not.

Even closer to home, Bray Wan­der­ers star Is­mahil Ak­i­nade was twice the vic­tim of racist chants last sea­son whilst play­ing for the Seag­ulls. Shel­bourne and Cork City fans were the guilty par­ties, taunt­ing the Nige­rian born striker, who was just 19 at the time.

In 2014, racism should be dead and buried. Whether it’s prej­u­dice against skin colour, eth­nic back­ground, re­li­gion, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der, it is vile and should have been ban­ished back in the 20th century along with mul­lets and flares (not that I’m dis­crim­i­nat­ing against people with mul­lets or those that wear flares, ob­vi­ously).

Go­ing back to Sun­day night, it also served as a stark re­minder of the emo­tions con­tained within foot­ball. That clash with the Yel­low Sub­ma­rine was Barca’s first match since the death of their for­mer man­ager Tito Vi­lanova, who passed away af­ter a bat­tle with cancer on Fri­day; aged just 45.

Vi­lanova was as­sis­tant man­ager with the Cata­lan gi­ants un­der Pep Guardi­ola, win­ning 14 ti­tles dur­ing his time as num­ber two. Af­ter Guardi­ola’s de­par­ture, Vi­lanova took up the reins and won the La Liga in his first sea­son, be­fore re­sign­ing in July 2013 due to ill health, just 10 months be­fore his death.

Touch­ing trib­utes flooded in for the Spa­niard, most no­tably from Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich, cur­rent home of Guardi­ola.

On Satur­day, Guardi­ola’s Bun­desliga cham­pi­ons were in ac­tion against Werder Bre­men. Hav­ing gone 1-2 down, Mu­nich stormed back and showed their pedigree to win 52. The telling mo­ment of the match came when Clau­dio Pizarro put the hosts 3-2 ahead. The cam­eras cut to Guardi­ola, but in­stead of arms raised in the air or fists be­ing pumped in de­light, Guardi­ola was sit in his chair, eyes glued to the floor, his train of thought clearly a mil­lion miles away fo­cussing on some­thing else; some­one else.

Not ev­ery­one in the foot­ball world is a bad ap­ple. Don’t let a banana fool you.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.