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