Date: 7th October 2021
The latest SFSA blog provided to you by Donald Stewart
Racism – the scourge
“When you are faced with the absurdity of grown adults using children as shields, you know things are very wrong. So, the latest nonsense from Slavia Prague is risible.
Once more, the way in which UEFA shall respond shall no doubt, try to equal that lack of purpose. I expect noise and smoke, a few mirrors but little by way of effective action. Up until now, the action has not managed to resolve the issue.
It may be that in Czech society there is a wider problem. It could be argued that focussing in on the wee kiddies who displayed racism in booing Glen Kamara is unfair – after all football is getting it for a wider societal problem; but football does not live outside of society.
It is an expression of that society. It is a representation of the community – it is an unfiltered demonstration of where countries are at. The Czech Republic has given itself a right showing up.
But let us not be smug.
It is not like we have a blameless record.
In the last month, two lower league clubs have been forced to take some form of action due to alleged racist incidents. In Coatbridge, the “Coatbridge Boys” have been banned from the Reigart Stadium by Albion Rovers. At Somerset Park there is an investigation ongoing about alleged racist comments at a game against Greenock Morton.
The issue that arises, more than the age and stage of the people allegedly guilty of the incidents , is that they should be happening at all. In a democracy, of course, if you do not believe in the legitimacy of Black Lives Matters, find taking the knee to be contrary to your beliefs or that the world has gone PC mad, having those beliefs is your prerogative. It is your right to think what you wish, to ascribe to views that I may find abhorrent, but you believe should be mainstream.
The problem comes when they are displayed in a manner designed to wound or to attack another human being.
That is when they become problematical.
I have often thought and written about the click of the turnstile oftentimes being like a switch in the head of people who follow football. It is at this time that they begin to leave sense at the outside and bring prejudice into the stadium. Behaviour over which they would blush in a pub or in the street of a Saturday evening, becomes quite the norm. The excuse of passion and the way it affects your head appears for some to be totally understandable when following the fitba and people are constantly excusing the chanting, the exuberance and the behaviour of some as the way it has always been or the way it has to be as it is a game filled with such raw emotion.
Civilised society demands civilised behaviour – there is no excuse for behaving in a threatening manner. It is much the same as what goes on behind the closed doors of a home is the business of only those who live there.
The business of behaviour in any football ground is the business of the society in which it operates. In the same way that domestic abuse should not be ignored by the authorities, then racism, homophobia, prejudice and abuse should not be tolerated.
If the sporting authorities cannot find a solution, and they should be supported in the measures they take, then other authorities must step in. Regulatory bodies may be responsible for the sport team being in a league or not being allowed to play at a certain level but local government licence the grounds. National government is responsible for so much more. The responsibility of sorting the problem rests firstly with UEFA, the SFA and the SPFL.
It also rests with us all.
How many of us have heard the words, listened to the chanting and done nothing? How many under trained stewards have been faced with large crowds of people and thought, my wage does not cover the hospital heartache of challenging this.
There is a solution somewhere. We need to find it, combine together and show taking a knee as strength that leads to action and not just a gesture in itself. Calling out the endemic racism being taught to children for what it is – pathetic – is the start.”
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