November 17th, 2011

Racism In Football: Just The Facts, People

As is our usual policy when it comes to matters of extreme seriousness in football, we choose to plead the fifth amendment. For those not familiar with the United States constitution, it reads as follows:

‘No Kickette staffer should be forced to comment on a footballing situation that may or may not involve crime/infidelity/buffoon-like behaviour, on the basis that they are completely ill-equipped to deal with such matters and will invariably panic and say something that will get the site sued and/or look really stupid.

They shall instead maintain a dignified silence until everyone else has had their chance to act a fool. Only then are the ladies of Kickette obligated to provide factual information to their readers, so they can’t be accused of ignoring it.’

Or something to that effect.

So first, we present the recent allegations of racism in football in chronological order as we remember it:

Case No. 1: Luis Suarez vs. Patrice Evra

Image: REUTERS/Phil Noble.

15.10.11 The FA launches an investigation into Patrice Evra’s claims that Luis Suarez racially abused him several times during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Anfield, after the matter is raised in referee Andre Marriner’s report.

16.10.11 Luis Suarez ‘categorically denies’ the allegations, despite Evra stating that ‘he says a certain word to me ten times, you can see it on the cameras‘.

17.10.11 PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor offers to mediate between the players after Evra tells Manchester United he wishes to pursue the case.

22.10.11 United and Liverpool told by the FA not to comment on the issue further because of the potential to ‘inflame relations’ between the clubs.

28.10.11 Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish calls for a quick conclusion to the affair, claiming he has seen no evidence of racism at Anfield.

16.11.11 The FA confirm that Suarez has been charged with racially abusing Evra. Liverpool are ‘surprised’ by the decision and issue a statement confirming he will plead not guilty to the charges.


Case No.2: John Terry vs. Anton Ferdinand

Image taken 26.10.2011 in London. Credit: James McCauley.

23.10.11 Rumours begin to circulate on the internet of an alleged racist slur by Chelsea defender and England captain John Terry towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a match at Loftus Road.

24.10.11 John Terry says he is ‘disappointed’ with the allegations and states that ‘people have leapt to the wrong conclusions’ about the video. He claims that ‘he would never say such a thing’ and he was merely repeating an accusation from Anton Ferdinand that he had. According to Terry, the matter had apparently been resolved after the match during a private discussion between the players, and it was all a ‘misunderstanding’.

25.10.11 John Terry welcomes an FA probe into the matter after QPR make an official complaint.

26.10.11 The FA announce they have no plans to suspend John Terry as England captain during the enquiry.

30.10.11 Anton’s brother and Terry’s England team-mate Rio Ferdinand reportedly tells friends that in his opinion, John Terry’s remarks were ‘blatantly racist’.

31.10.11 AF releases an official statement through the QPR website, stating he has ’very strong feelings on the matter, but in the interests of fairness and not wishing to prejudice what I am sure will be a very thorough enquiry by the FA, this will be my last comment on the subject until the enquiry is concluded.’ He added (via The People): ‎‘I didn’t know racism still existed in football until last weekend’.

01.11.11 The Metropolitan Police request extra match footage from broadcaster Sky as they formally begin investigating the incident after receiving a public complaint. AF retweets supportive and not-so-supportive messages he has received.

05.11.11 It is reported that JT will make the squad for the upcoming England friendlies vs. Spain and Sweden.

07.11.11 He will not captain the side against Spain though. Frank Lampard will have that honour while JT warms the bench. He will return for the Sweden game.

14.11.11 Terry states in an England press conference that as captain it is his responsibility to ‘face up’ to the matter. Journalists are prevented from asking the player any questions relating to it by an FA representative.

15.11.11 He captains the England NT in their 1-0 defeat of Sweden at Wembley Stadium.


Case No.3: Robin van Persie vs. the Internet

Image via dirtytackle.

29.10.11 Robin van Persie scores a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-3 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After the second goal, he celebrates by running towards the fans, brushing his left shoulder and raising his arm towards them. Social networking sites ‘explode’ with allegations that the celebration was in fact a ‘Nazi salute’.

30.10.11 RvP takes to his Twitter account to respond, claiming that it is ‘totally ludicrous to suggest that (his actions) were anything other than a showing of joy and celebration and to claims anything else is insulting and absurd.


Case No. 4: Sami Ameobi & The Twitter User

Image via twitter.

30.10.11 Newcastle United striker Sami Ameobi tweets an image of  his favourite boot-porn (above). Twitter user and language aficionado @johnnyphipps, responds with this.

01.11.11 A police investigation is launched after Newcastle United report the message to Northumbria Constabulary.

03.11.11 Two seventeen-year-old boys are arrested by Northumbria police on suspicion of ‘malicious communication offences’.


Case No.5: Sepp Blatter vs. the World

Image: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images.

16.11.11 The head of the world governing body of football claims in consecutive interviews that ‘football does not have a problem with racism on the field, and any incidents should be settled by a handshake’. He later claims that his comments were ‘misunderstood’ and that he has been “personally leading this battle against racism”. Rio Ferdinand is stunned.

17.11.11 PFA chief Gordon Taylor is among the many voices vociferously calling for Blatter to resign in light of his comments.


As we said before, it isn’t for us to throw ourselves into the fray (our manicurist would kill us, but we’ll let you all do it on our behalf.

Do you think there is a problem with racism in the game? Is it up to domestic leagues or the world’s governing body to investigate such matters? Anything else to add without insulting or targeting anyone specifically?

Just remember, we’d like to to conduct yourselves with a lady-like level of decorum. Otherwise we’ll be forced to unleash the Comments Moderator of Death (and occasionally Doom).

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48 Responses to “Racism In Football: Just The Facts, People”

  1. Daf says:

    dont know why any footballer with the outstanding backround of a great footballing brother like ANTON FERDINAND would ever accuse a great footballer like JOHN TERRYof racisit remarks against one of his friends and long time team mate RIO FERDINAND!
    it sickens me how a pro footballer can accuse other players, like the allagasions agaisnt LUIS SUAREZ from PATRICE EVRA when he has clearly accused others befor and been proven wrong he is a sick player and should be dropped from the squad and publicly shamed …same goes for ANTON FERDINAND!!

  2. [...] love writing for you guys. It doesn’t matter whether we’re waffling on about racism in football, Fabio Capello’s surprisingly attractive ab situ or certain people’s unmentionable [...]

  3. Joe says:

    i can stand him anymore, Sepp Blatter is definitely a clown …

  4. xbabyshakesx says:

    If racism still exists in the world, it will continue to exist in football =\

    • April says:

      Sadly, I must agree with your comment. World football is much too large an entity to remove it completely (though the effort is appreciated). And it is hard to do so through legislation or governing bodies. Though, I come from a land that leaves most of the language up for public and social ridicule, and I suppose in some ways I don't entirely disagree with that practice. I suppose I also take issue with the fact that the FA hasn't made vast efforts in other areas of prejudices and discrimination. They've committed to stopping racism as a poster child cause, but what about sexism and taunting religion and things of that nature? Isn't any prejudiced comment of that sort worth fighting? The best place for them to start is through education. Not sure if they do required training programs on these types of things, but they ought to.

      Expecting FIFA to do it doesn't seem efficient… I would welcome their involvement, but it would seem the governing bodies for each league is the best place to start the initiative, as they're where the rules and employment starts for their respective leagues.

  5. Catie2838 says:

    The biggest problem with racism in football is that FIFA & Friends love to pretend it doesn't exist, so nothing is really addressed. These issues are, for the most part, dealt with in the same way: quietly (if at all possible) slap some kind of fine and/or suspension on a player. But, that doesn't teach the aggressor why their actions were wrong, or afford that player or their team the opportunity to actually learn from those mistakes. And indeed, when you treat racism like a parking ticket, you're bound to have repeat offenders.

    The other problem with this la-de-da policy of pretending nothing ever happens is Sepp Blatter. That pinhead seriously needs to go and take his 19th century ideals with him. Fact: Football doesn't exist in a special realm that is immune to the worlds problems. If anything, it reflects how far we still have to go.

    On a somewhat related note: what happens to all the fine money?

  6. Leya_S says:

    Don't forget the Cesc Fabregas against Kanoute allegations.

    That aside, this is ridiculous. Fifa needs to take this seriously. Its unbelievable. You can't allow these things to continue. Fans and players need to know that that kind of behavior is just unacceptable.

  7. littlegreenpea says:

    I think that there is still racism in the game, but I wouldn't trust Sepp Blatter to get rid of it. It's sad to see it still in the game, but until racist people become more educated and accept diversity, racism will continue…

  8. JA7 says:

    No racism in football? Bro, what planet do you live on?! SEP BLATTER OUT.

  9. DrStrangelove says:

    Blatter is a joke; the Silvio Berlusconi of world football. FIFA is incapable of projecting any credibility while he's still at the helm. Unfortunately, due to the machine politics of FIFA, he's also totally untouchable until he retires. What a farce.

  10. Rachael says:

    I personally think the most utterly stupid thing Blatter says is that any such incidents should be resolved by a handshake!!! This is like saying if someone is racially abused on the pitch they should shut up and shake hands. Together with his previous remarks about gay people should not go to Quatar it is time this ignorant Bigot went he actually represents all that needs stamping out in the beautiful game!

  11. Mercy says:

    I’m disappointed in Blatter’s comments.He disgusts me.

  12. liz says:

    Sepp Blatter always has either his foot in his mouth or his head up his ass. and it's not the finely-sculpted variety the kickette army is so fond of. The day Blatter doesn't say something stupid is a day that doesn't end in Y or a day I don't drink wine

  13. Kristina says:

    Yes, racism exists in football. Yes, Sepp Blatter is a ridiculous, ignorant fool. He should give his place up to someone with values and ideas from this century.

  14. mata says:

    Goodness. I thought people were innocent until proved guilty through due process, not the court of public opinion.

    • MilaR says:

      err isnt Luis suarez found guilty or??

    • Kai says:

      You're only innocent until proven guilty in the States.

      • mata says:

        It's a fundamental principal of justice throughout the common law countries and western democracies, not just the USA. It's wrong that someone's reputation can be completely ruined just by being accused of something. If Terry or Suarez made racist comments they should be punished, but people are already calling for Terry to resign before the facts have even been established.

  15. Kat22 says:

    *as if Suarez is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Sorry, the aforementioned wine…

  16. xoWinnie says:

    i've always regarded Suarez as cheating pond scum that gave the Uruguayan NT a bad name. now to add more fuel to the fire, he's a racist pond sum that gave the Uruguayan NT a bad name? gosh. racism and prejudice are bred of ignorance yes, but it's also cowardice. to attack someone over something they have absolutely no control over. no one chooses to be born black or white, or asian or what have you. if i were try to rile someone up, i'd attack their character (i.e. calling Rooney an adulterous granny-f*cker, etc). but i guess it's always easy to take the cheapest of shots, so this doesn't surprise me in the least.

    • Kat22 says:

      Well, I don't know exactly what's been said, but apparently Suarez himself admitted himself he called Evra a 'negrito'. Supposedly (and I am saying this with the greatest caution) he didn't mean this in a racist way at all, which is why he volunteered the information himself. What I don't understand is, if you have a disagreement/beef with someone, why refer to their skin colour in the first place?? It's not like it has anything to do with anything.

      It needs to be stamped out, full stop. And unfortunately for Liverpool, I feel the FA are going to make an example of Suarez.

      • xoWinnie says:

        if he meant it to upset him or rile him up, to me that is synonymous with wanting to offend (which he did).
        and yes i know exactly what you mean! why does it have to come to that? like i said;
        it's the easy way out: it offends people, angers them, an causes them to react (like Evra did).

        i wouldn't mind if the FA made a disciplinary example out of Suarez
        because quite frankly; I hate him. he thinks he can get away with anything.
        maybe this will teach him a lesson and he'll grow the hell up.

        • Kat22 says:

          I always think it's kind of ironic how Liverpool supporters are acting how Suarez is now the best thing since sliced bread – when in the aftermath of the World Cup a lot of them (certainly on their internet sites) were slating him for cheating Ghana.

          But I guess their hatred towards Torres clouds their judgement.

          Here come the thumbs down, lol.

          • xoWinnie says:

            i feel the same way. after the world cup, i would not embrace him in my team.
            i don't care how many damn goals, assists, saves, etc he scores or makes.
            he still remains the same person/player.
            that won't change no matter what jersey he has on.

            • Kat22 says:

              Try telling a Liverpool supporter that!

              As far as they're concerned Suarez is it! Torres is just a traitor, but Suarez loves Liverpool. Yeah, like he wouldn't leave if Barcelona or Madrid came calling…

              • gblfc says:

                I'm a liverpool supporter and the thing is, is that if Suarez did say something racist (I have yet to see these tapes that Evra keeps referring to) then yes he should be punished. All prejudice is wrong, but aren't your comments also prejudiced? You have just made sweeping generalisations about all Liverpool supporters by claiming they turn blind and ignorant eyes towards racism. Is this not the sort of comment that only continues to breed ill will among fans and fuel prejudice? And, I'm sorry but the Torres thing will always be used by other fans to try to rile up lfc supporters. The truth is, it came as a shock, it was sad to see him leave on such bad terms, but I still hope he does well in his career, if not only for the Spanish national team :)

                • Kat22 says:

                  You're right. I apologise for tarring everyone with the same brush.

                  • mata says:

                    Um, that expression is considered racist and extremely offensive to many.

                    • Kat22 says:

                      You are not seriously suggesting that my comment was meant in an offensive way, are you??

                    • mata says:

                      Nope, on the contrary, don't even know you but feel sure you didn't mean it that way, just trying to make a point that sometimes people can say things that are racist or offend without intending it, and it's just possible that if Suarez/Terry said something they shouldn't have then they really didn't understand the impact of what they were saying. It is possible, isn't it? Especially in the case of Suarez, who doesn't deny what was said but claims it wasn't intended as racist. So maybe condemning him as "racist pond scum" as one poster did was a wee bit harsh, IMO.

                • xoWinnie says:

                  while i can see what you are saying, my primary issue with Suarez remains that he is a habitual cheater, and has proven this time and time again. this is why, even if i were a Liverpool fan, i would never support him as a player.

                  • gblfc says:

                    I don't know about Suarez's experiences before he came to lfc, I just know him from his experiences at the club, and this is the first major incident where his character has been challenged so I don't feel informed enough to judge on his previous actions. Though I wonder what you mean about a "habitual cheater"? Do you mean diving? Because I know a lot of footballers (ex. C. Ronaldo, Busquets, etc.) who unfortunately sometimes resort to the same tactics and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on them as well, or if you mean he does something different that classifies him as a cheater?

                    • gblfc says:

                      what I mean is to say, yes the World Cup behaviour was an extraordinary incident and of course the ear catastrophe, but I after reading his interviews since he arrived at lfc I am just so reluctant to judge him harshly, maybe I am trying to hard to see the best in him – maybe I am just naive. But I think he has expressed regret at those two incidents which makes me hope he is not just a "habitual cheater"…

                    • mata says:

                      With you completely. There's alot about Suarez I'm not crazy about (falls over too easily, the handball incident, etc.) but there's alot to like too, e.g., (1) raised himself out of shocking poverty to make something of his life (2) devoted family man and father (3) risked angering Liverpool fans by speaking up to support Torres and thanked Torres his kindness and support when he joined LFC. And don't apologize for "seeing the best" in people. In a world only too quick to find fault with everyone maybe it's not such a bad thing.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Suraez right now is the cheating bastard, ear biting racist! Oh my god!

      I wonder about Terry vs rio brother issue, how does rio feel about his capitan allegdally insulting his brother :s

      • xoWinnie says:

        i think Rio is extremely pissed off. he's obviously going to back his brother up no matter what.
        even though i'm a Chelsea fan, i would back Rio up. i don't think Anton would make this up.
        the reason i don't think anything will come of this however, is because it would be much too
        controversial for Terry to be found guilty of racism as the current England NT captain.
        it's sad, but true. sh1t would most definitely hit the fan.

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          The problem with racisim allegation, we always tend to give benefit of doubt for allegedly accused because racisim is not shown, it always verbally abuse that fans can't hear, I hope Terry is innocent, again I do t think a person is necessary a racist, but using racist insults to reply for provocation or to provoke!
          Of course rio will stand by his brother, but so far rio didn't get involve, I agree a lot are saying that Suarez since hs is a forgeiner he is being punished, but Terry even he found guilty he won't be touched!
          I hate racisim issues, I really don't want get caught discussing it, I already was caught in the middle of. Busquets vs Marcelo and in the end I felt guilty for busquets and Marcelo too! Very confusing!
          I am gonna look at this one and see how it folds

  17. Kat22 says:

    I've been enjoying too much of my wine now to be up to a proper debate, so let me just say this:

    a) racism has NO place in football (or anywhere else for that matter)


    b) it's high time that Sepp Blatter retires. Seriously.