Are Arsenal Hypocrites? By Dan Smith
Arsenal have been criticized throughout the last week by netizens for joining in with other brands last Tuesday by staging a ‘black out’ on their Twitter page.
This isn’t about the club supporting that ‘Black Lives Matter’ (as well they should) but can or should the Gunners choose when or not football can mix with politics?
The accusation of hypocrisy comes from a failure to support Mesut Ozil, who equally had good intentions when he supported Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and questioned why more countries were not protesting against China’s treatment towards them.
I believe those who say sport shouldn’t get involved with this type of discussion are people who don’t want to hear the truth. It’s too easy to pretend the reality of the world isn’t happening, but the fact is our game is too engulfed in money that stems from these situations that we can’t pick and choose.
For example, is it right to talk about the World Cup in Qatar, predict scores, get excited, say how beautiful the stadiums look, etc, but please don’t mention the slave labour and the amount of deaths to build that stadia? You can’t pick and choose.
You can’t say it’s harsh that Sancho gets a yellow card for displaying a message on his shirt, but then when one of our players points out the mistreatment of Muslims, football should be kept separate? Since 2017, camps have been set up (reportedly set outside the legal system) where millions of Uighurs are being held without any charge or trial in secret locations to ‘re-educate’. Testimonies include sexual assault, forced labour, brain washing and torture.
Individuals have been detained for visiting Kazakhstan, having WhatsApp on their phone and practising Islam. Men and women have legally told stories of their ‘education’ including having to sing and study China’s Communist Party.
Yet not did his employers just not back his stance, Arsenal distanced themselves from Ozil’s comments, stressing his views were his own and not a reflection on the club’s stance. That’s despite the UK being one of 23 nations who have signed a letter to the UN Human’s Right Council asking China to close their camps.
That would be like the squad all taking a knee in training, followed by a statement on our website stressing that’s not Arsenal [the company] saying they back that protest. Can you imagine the uproar if that happened?
What’s Ozil said that’s different?
That people shouldn’t be imprisoned.
That Muslims shouldn’t be forced to eat pork?
That women shouldn’t have to take unknown medicines leading to abortions?
That anyone should have free speech and not be suppressed?
Or is it that the Chinese Government then punished Arsenal by not broadcasting their next fixture – hitting Stan Kroenke in the pocket?
Arsenal got involved last Tuesday because #Black Lives Matter and it does. But all Ozil was saying in his own way was #Muslims Lives Matter. Because Guess what?
# All Lives Matter
If Arsenal don’t want to get involved in politics, then fine. If you only want Arsenal to refer to football, then fine. But then they and their players have to not tweet, Facebook or message about what’s going on in America. When we score next week at City, no removing the shirt, no taking the knee. If you do? Then you equally have to give Ozil’s views a platform.