Zero Tolerance Means Zero Tolerance by Dan Smith
Ian Wright led the media’s TV coverage of last night’s racist scenes by claiming that England’s reaction to racial abuse in Bulgaria was a ‘positive’ day in the fight against racism. Yet I think that’s slightly reactionary.
As I wrote in Just Arsenal last week; when push came to shove the players stopped going as far as walking off the pitch. Twice the game was halted which if nothing else will bring media attention to the issue poisoning our game. But it won’t tell us anything we don’t already know. That people need educating (in England as well), but that doesn’t mean UEFA will do anything about it. That’s why I refuse to accept the notion that any of the protocols worked.
I say that because the likes of Sterling spent 90 minutes listening to monkey chants – and in 2019 that’s simply not acceptable. My attitude towards this topic has always been one of zero tolerance. So why was an announcement not made the first instance anyone heard unwanted chanting?
After the tannoy announcement, it was obvious things were not getting better, so again why was it allowed to continue? Television showed a section of a gang asked to leave but as they held up signs and did the Nazi salute, they hardly looked bothered. So apparently the victory was in the second half because there was only ‘some’ racial chanting? Again, is that zero tolerance?
Zero tolerance means one fan being abusive is one to many, one minute of monkey chants, one minute to long.
Nothing that happened yesterday protected our black players from an ordeal that you wouldn’t legally have to tolerate in any other workplace. The abuse rained down for 90 minutes and it will happen again. All Gareth Southgate and the assistants did was occasionally huddle together, acknowledged what we had all heard and point out how horrible it was, before agreeing for the players to turn the other cheek.
You warned the crowd the game would be stopped if abuse carried on, but it carried on, simple…
Don’t get me wrong it’s not any side, coach or players responsibility to come up with an answer themselves, only the game’s governing body can do that.
Just if we think yesterday was progress, we are saying it’s okay for someone to be racially abused because it was only a little bit in the second half.
Again, zero tolerance should be zero tolerance.