Thank you Lacazette for an iconic anti-racist message against Slavia

Thank You Laca by Dan

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice last night in the Europa League against Slavia last night, but his proudest moment was before kick-off.

Our captain for the night took the knee, but in an act of defiance decided to do so right in front of the opposition while staring them down. To clarify, our opponents have stopped doing the ritual not because (like some clubs) they feel the message has been lost. They are doing so in protest of their perceived mistreatment of Ondrej Kudela, banned for 10 matches due to ‘racist behaviour towards Rangers’ Glen Kamara.’

The image of Laca has gone viral.

It’s the closest you will find of a picture that shows the state of European Football.

On May 26th, hopefully Arsenal will be inside the Stadion Gdansk. If we are, our players will be forced to take a photo with their Man United or Roma peers, standing behind a UEFA banner claiming to be against racism. That’s the Governing Body ticking a box to appease sponsors.

On their official website you would think that equality was vital to the organisation. There are messages ranging from Paul Pogba, Megan Rapinoe, Koulibaly, Ruud Gullit, Giroud, Pirlo and others. All had been invited by President Aleksander Ceferin to share their first-hand experience of discrimination.

How can on the one hand you showcase individuals pleading for more to be done to battle racial abuse, then hand out the minimum possible punishment?

UEFA boast that they are partners with FARE who proudly have given more than 1,375 grants estimated over 700,000. Working with the Homeless World Cup Foundation, they work with 74 countries to arrange competitions.

In 2019 – with help from CAFE, 34 countries are supported in ensuring disabled people can enjoy a match day experience.

Thanks to working with Colour Blind Awareness, 10 out of 12 stadiums for Euro 2020 will have an accessibility audit.

Other partnerships have led to an increase in female deaf players, 2,550 players in power chair Football are registered with an association, 41,000 fans were in attendance for the Amputee European Final.

So, for an institution who get a lot of negative headlines, it’s important to stress they do noble deeds as well. Like in any work place, you have people who want to do good things and make the world better.

Yet they are regressing in their battle against racism. It’s all words and zero action, and because of that it’s coming across as not being a serious issue.

They represent 55 associations.

Yet it’s like they are scared to make this political. If you’re in charge of 55 countries that play Football, it’s natural that not every culture is going to have the same ideologies and principles.

In this case, look at the reaction in the Czech Republic. Both Kudela’s employers and association have defended the defender with the incident a big national story.

Even the Czech government have defended the player, feeling the 34-year-old has been banned to appease a ‘perverted small group of activists’.

Understandably UEFA would rather not be upsetting a whole countries government.

Yet this technically is their ball. Who plays is up to them? If any nation isn’t happy with their ethos, then they can stay away. Unfortunately, that would take a strong leader. Someone who walks in wanting a complete reform.

There’s zero point asking for help from FIFA. They are about to have a World Cup in Qatar!

Where UEFA haven’t helped themselves is still not providing any evidence to what actually was said between Kudela and Kamara. As things stand, the ban is based on probability which allows Slavia Prague and their government to claim prejudice without evidence.

England are not innocent by the way.

The FA banned Suarez based on probability, meaning the player never took accountability and Liverpool (like Slavia Prague) supported their player.

If UEFA are unwilling or unable to have zero tolerance against racism then maybe they should stop with the hash tags, logos, signs, etc which indicate they do.

They manage to have zero tolerance for other issues. When Kieran Trippier was found guilty of match betting, he was forced to miss 10 weeks of the La Liga season. That amounted to 13 games.

To clarify, a tougher sanction was given to a player for telling a friend to bet on him leaving Spurs, compared to a man racially abusing another man.

The second one is a criminal offence.

If anyone did that in their work place, they would be sacked.

Kudela will miss a run in for a title already won, while being treated like a martyr. He hasn’t been punished. How could he be if he’s showing zero remorse?

Slavia Prague, and even the Czech Republic as a country, are clearly determined to present an ‘us against the world’ mantra to protect their image.

So it’s UEFA’s image that’s been hurt. Already the little faith Football had in them to act with zero tolerance dies a little bit more.

They didn’t have the bravery to insist upon a country examining their principles and values so took the easy way out.

A 10-game ban showing they are doing something, but in reality they are trivialising how serious the offence is.

Or am I being too kind?

Making excuses?

Do UEFA simply not have a zero-tolerance policy?

Are they run by personnel not in touch with the modern day?

Maybe to them, breaking betting protocol is more serious?

After all, that’s something all 55 members will agree on because that’s about money.

I dream that on May 26th, we are lifting the Europa League.

I’m sure Mr Ceferin will get his face in on the pictures. I’m sure he will make sure that any celebrations will be in front of a big display claiming how UEFA are against racism.

Yet the most powerful image?

The one that truly shows a zero tolerance towards racism.

Lacazette, bravely, with his head held high, looking Slavia Prague in the eye, with his teammates in support, telling the world he won’t accept hate.

 

Be Kind In The Comments

 

Dan

 

Tags lacazette Slavia take the knee

65 Comments

  1. PJ-SA says:

    BLM co-founder bought herself a very nice little $1.4 million mansion and owns around $3.4 mil worth of property in total now.

    For someone that’s a marxist this is massively hypocritical. I’m not saying she shouldn’t have a nice house or that she’s used donations to purchase it but it’s a bit funny from someone that continuously preaches about “spreading the wealth”

    Great movement to support 👌

    1. Sean M says:

      We don’t judge all of a country’s citizens on the basis of their leader, nor should we do the same for BLM, not that they are even remotely relevant to yesterday’s protest.

      1. PJ-SA says:

        The kneeling is a BLM initiative, so yes related.

        If you haven’t noticed BLMs plastered over many stadiums and stands then have a look.

        I just can’t support a movement that profits off of poor, mistreated individuals. Also let’s not forget the continuous looting of innocent people’s stores (of all races) supported by BLM. Imagine justifying the theft of a TV because you are not happy with something completely unrelated to the store.

        Support BLM if you want I really don’t care if you are gullible or not.

        1. Sean M says:

          ‘Sinister’ was a word created by the Catholic church to demonise pagan religions. That doesn’t mean it’s unethical to use it.

          I very much doubt Lacazette gives two sh*ts about BLM and is rather making a statement against racism writ large.

          Your comments, while I necessarily don’t disagree, are a cynical strawman interpretation of a very simple message: there is no room for racism.

          1. Admin Pat says:

            Actually, sinister means “left-handed” or summat, which also meant unacceptable. (Am I getting my history mixed up?)

          2. jon fox says:

            Ad PAT, You are essentially correct, though there is more to it than that. The ignorant and old view of life by so many was that left meant bad and right meant good. It is still evident in pantomime today, where the baddie always enters stage left and the good immortal, often a fairy or such, enters stage right. And both stay on the same side throughout , never crossing sides.

            Even in my late Mothers time left handed schoolchildren were forced to try writing with their right(ie “correct”!!) hand, thus damaging many kids for life! Stupid ignorance has so much to answer for.

          3. Sean M says:

            As Jon mentions, Pat, left and right represented the binary faces of good and evil. Among other origin stories, the Catholic church would invoke connotations of left to mean ‘touched by the devil’ labelling all miscreants and heathens ‘sinistra’ (left). And this was before the post French Revolution political connotations of left and right (which, given Catholicism’s tendency to err towards conservatism would also have made sense if it weren’t anachronistic).

            Anyway, it was only supposed to be an analogy 🙂

    2. NY_Gunner says:

      @PJ-SA
      Next time, do your homework before you blindly follow someone else’s lead by spitting out half cocked misinformation. You have zero idea who “Patrisse Cullors” is, but you do know she is a co-founder of BLM admires Marxism and has purchased a couple of houses worth a lot of money in predominantly white neighbourhoods…You took that tid bit of information, coupled with your bigoted ignorance of both Marxism as well as BLM and attempted to prove a point. Which fell flat.
      Your type wallow in your impotence to attack the message. So you compensate by attacking the messengers. Epic fail also…

      1. RSH says:

        they regurgitate anything that confirms their bias. The fact he’s got nothing to say about the actual topic of Lacazette, or the racism Kamara faced and goes right to his lazy hit-piece does it for me.

      2. Davi says:

        You basically agreed the things he said were correct and called him bigoted and ignorant – explain where he’s been bigoted and ignorant.

        You don’t even have to disagree with the message of an organisation to dislike them. Many of these people promote violence and rioting to get what they want.

  2. Sean M says:

    100% agreed. Powerful moment. Fully behind Laca and the boys. Racism in and out of football should be met with the harshest of penalties.

    Small point of correction: “They are doing so in protest of their perceived mistreatment of Ondrej Kudela”. I know what you meant but obviously the protest was due to the perverse reaction of the treatment of Kudela (which you explain later on), not his mistreatment. 👍

  3. gotanidea says:

    Yup, that picture is iconic indeed. If we win EL, Lacazette deserves a new contract

    He might slack off after getting an improved contract, but at least we get the EL trophy first. Arsenal have never won any major European competition before, so winning EL will be a massive achievement for the Gunners

    1. MartinelliTheBench says:

      So you perfectly ok with a player slacking off after a contract extension as long as we get a trophy?

      Pathetic honestly

      1. gotanidea says:

        I don’t really care because we haven’t won any major European trophy since 1994 and the contract extension will run out in 2023 anyway

    2. mish says:

      No we have won the Eufa winners cup…which is the Europa of today…

      1. gotanidea says:

        I forgot about that, but that was before Wenger joined us

    3. Phil says:

      GAI- in 1970 Arsenal won what is now called the UEFA CUP.
      In 1994 we won the European Cup Winners Cup.
      Pretty major trophies in most peoples minds.
      If you are suggesting that the only competition that is relevant is the Champions League, then I agree that is the ultimate aim of every Club. But we are not alone in not winning this trophy. Plenty of other big sides have not won this either

      1. gotanidea says:

        Yeah I forgot about UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. That was 27 years ago

  4. Wyoming says:

    Taking the knee in English football should never have happened.
    The action was as much an anti Donald Trump anti USA spin by the English media playing to an anti USA bias among many English people.
    The FA has for several seasons actively promoted fair play including anti racism with pre match hand shakes fair play logos on kit and prominently displayed signage at the ground.
    And rightly so because the 1970’s and 1980’s in particular saw horrendous racial abuse as well as crowd violence at all football grounds in England.
    The FA changes were working well and the knee was unnecessary and should have been for a 3 month duration. No doubt it will be discontinued after this season.
    Should we leave all observances out of sport like respects being paid to ex players, Armistice day, shooting tragedies, Covid victims prominent people like prince Philip?
    How do we decide?

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Very well said…but the second you don’t agree with kneeling the bigots turn around and will call you a racist lol

      1. NY_Gunner says:

        @PJ-SA
        Well, if the shoe fits…IJS

        1. ozziegunner says:

          To those above, just remember “taking the knee” was begun by Colin Kaepernac in a demonstration against black and Hispanic deaths at the hands of police and in accordance with advice from a veteran that sitting during the national anthem would be disrespectful. Such shootings are still happening.
          In my country, it has been adopted to demonstrate against the disproportional number of deaths in custody of aboriginal people.

    2. Sean M says:

      While I agree that kneeling has become an empty ritual, yesterday’s action was a specific protest about a specific event. It’s an important distinction to make.

      1. SueP says:

        I second that, although with a heavy heart.

        However, as a single action it was incredibly powerful by Laca.

      2. Dan says:

        Well done Sean

      3. Davi says:

        Completely agree Sean.

    3. NY_Gunner says:

      @Wyoming
      Wrong. Taking a knee has zero to do with Trump and all to do with protest against the abusive treatment of Black people by police, which spread world wide. Due to the fact that it is so wide spread…

      1. ozziegunner says:

        👍NY_Gunner and Wyoming including “aboriginal (black) deaths in custody” in Australia, which are statistically far greater than other racial groups.

    4. RSH says:

      How do we decide? The players agreed to do this. You know, the ones playing the game, and many of whom have been affected by racism in the game. But go ahead and ignore their experiences because it makes you feel insecure. This is exactly why I hope they keep kneeling. Because I know it pisses you off and you can’t casually ignore the poor treatment of people to watch your footy in peace.

  5. Matthew says:

    As i always say,racism is like an inbuild disease that can never be totally eradicated,just like tribalism,sexism&the likes.people can only learn to tolerate it when abused because it won’t just go away.the more people cry over it,the more courage/power they give to the racists to continue.so for me the best way to tackle racism is to learn to tolerate or better still,abuse the racist in an equal measure,no amount of preaching or campaign can stop it because even some of the campaigners are equally racists

  6. Sean says:

    I’d say that was as much a personal moment for Laca against these racist @#$%….

    Right in the middle semi circle is something meaningful and the picture, as they say, is worth 1000 words. Well done Arsenal too.

    A special moment was made in football history before a ball was even kicked, that speaks volumes especially with the BLM movement rights going on in the world today.

  7. jon fox says:

    First things first; huge applause to DAN for this important and so true article. This shows in graphic reality how wrong people are who say sport should not get involved in politics. Politics is about life and sport is played by humans, so how any sporting human cannot get involved in life itself is beyond me!
    Secondly, DANS spot on summation shows how corrupt and how shallow UEFA AND FIFA both are. This fact is of course widely recognised by most decent football fans everywhere. Any organisation that considers human life secondary to the pursuit of money, as both those corrupt organisations constantly do, is immoral to its very core and unfit to govern the sport .
    This is why I shunned the Russian World Cup and will do likewise with the one in Qatar.
    This is purely my personal protest and will change nothing. BUT my conscience will never let me condone both those world cups being held and awarded to corrupt and anti human countries.

    I of course accept that no country is perfect and corruption has many grades and levels. But those two countries are profoundly evil and anti human, which I hope explains my position.
    Thirdly, huge applause to LACA and my admiration for his action last night which gives great credit both to him personally and to the club he represents.

    Finally, a plea to Admin Pat to allow, indeed encourage, more articles of this profoundly human nature, by writers who actually have SOMETHING to say!

    1. Admin Pat says:

      I do the allowing Jon, you do the encouraging….

      1. jon fox says:

        PAT Do you think then, as you post suggests , that your position in running JA prevents YOU TOO encouraging fans to write articles ? IF that is the case, let me throw this thought into the debate: the word”allow” denotes someone powerful giving someone less worthy a “leaders permission”.
        WHEREAS, by contrast, the word “encourage” is usually what nicer non autocratic folk do in a kindly way to others in order to make them feel worthwhile. Just my view but I suggest many others may well think likewise.

        1. Admin Pat says:

          And I think you Sir are that kindly non autocratic gentleman

  8. Indian Gunner London says:

    Well Done Laca for the knee and the stare. It did more for BLM than many other gestures in football matches. It set the tone for the performance.
    yesterday was a beautiful night for all gunners who have had to endure a lot this season.

  9. Darthballz says:

    Don’t want to offend the writer of this article. But could you tell me what kudela did wrong to get a ten game ban

    1. Dan says:

      Read UEFA statement
      I didn’t ban him ?

    2. guy says:

      I’m in the same position as you Darth. What are the known FACTS here? From the little I have read a Celtic player hurt the Slavia gk, and then alleged something racist was said to him, which apparently the Slavia player denies, but I don’t know whether there were any witnesses for either side. Kudela was banned because “on the balance of probability” UEFA believe him guilty. It would seem UEFA found some facts, but last I heard they hadn’t released them, which has really not helped. The Czech objection is that there’s a lack of evidence other than one man’s word, that he is guilty.

      1. Dan says:

        UEFA statement said he’s been banned for ‘ racial behaviour towards Glen Kamara’
        That’s after a two weeks investigation
        They don’t release information to the public straight away as the player has the right to contest the findings
        So to answer your question
        He showed racial behaviour to Glen Kamara
        If your saying can we prove UEF A are lieing ? I would suggest the players lawyers would be involved if they made up.evidence

        1. jon fox says:

          GUY AND DAN, AS A LIBERTAIAN AND ALSO AN ANTI RACIST(and anti ALL other forms of human prejudice, to my core, I foresee certain future problems with the principle of punishing an alleged offence without actual proof.

          BANNING ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABALITIES IS AGAINST NATURAL JUSTICE , EVEN THOUGH I HAVE LITTLE REASONABLE DOUBT THAT SOMETHING RACIST WAS SAID BY THE ACCUSED.
          But in a court of law for alleged criminal offences the onus is on the prosecution to PROVE BEYOND reasonable doubt , that someone is guilty as charged.

          Punishing without actual proof opens the dor to all sorts of accusations from players “trying it on” against innocent players thus falsely accused.

          This will certainly happen, indeed my well have happpned previously. This remains true, even though in THIS case my instincts( which are irrelevant) are that Kudela was guilty.

          So great care is needed in properly thinking through the consequences of convicting, without actual proof. The problem is that actual proof is often impossible to provide. So DANGER lies ahead IMO!

  10. Davi says:

    Something I’d read about the Luis Suarez incident with Patrice Evra is that he said something that is not considered to be racist in his country, but Evra believed and I’m sure still believes it was racist. *If true* this is a complicated issue in my mind, as it’s more to do with cultural differences rather than intent to do harm.
    *If true*, my own view would be that it’s a misunderstanding between two people that could have been cleared up rather easily, and so Liverpool did nothing wrong in supporting their player, and actually the PL charged him rather unfairly.
    The incident with Kudela and Kamara *could* be a similar situation where something was misunderstood (I suspect it’s not, but really don’t know).
    A lot of hypotheticals here.

    1. guy says:

      Look at the Cavani incident Davi. He used exactly the same word to one of his best friends. The word means the colour black in South American, not just a person. And I am pretty sure that many words in foreign languages either sound like derogatory words to us or have importantly different connotations in different countries. Are all foreign speakers expected to learn fluent English before they play English speaking teams, just to safeguard against racism claims? I’m not saying in this case he said nothing wrong but surely we need to take account of language?
      I have lived in Eastern Europe, as well as briefly South Africa during apartheid. I am aware that there is widespread racism in their cultures. I also lived through the 1970s in England, where although not as overt or officially endorsed. it was also cultural and widespread. By this I mean that 1) the offenders seriously do not believe they are doing wrong and 2) You cannot eradicate it overnight, it takes time and education.
      I feel that merely to legislate and expect that to fix everything just drives it undergound, or even worse – creates a kneejerk violent reaction.

      1. Daniel Smith says:

        think it’s context
        Something tells me this wasn’t Kudela talking to his mate
        Just like Suarez when he was speaking to Evra

        1. guy says:

          Absolutely DS – the context is key. But I also know from personal experience how two people speaking different languages can misunderstand each other. Im sure he wasnt saying anything nice to him, but to assume that because they were both upset, and because one was black and one white, 100% understanding (including whether it was heard accurarately, what language it was spoken in, and what that word implies in the culture of the speaker) suddenly occurs between two people speaking different languages? He probably did say something bad I agree, but just pointing out we cant just assume or hear what we want to hear.

          1. Daniel Smith says:

            I assume based on a UEFA Investigation saying he’s ‘ guilty of racial hatred’

        2. Blu3 says:

          I’m from brazil. Negro is the correct way to refer to the color of black people. Using the word Black (preto) is very racist here.

          It’s not about talking to a mate. it’s the cultural appropiate and polite word. Dunno if it’s the same in south american spanish, but i don’t doubt it.

          1. Dan says:

            But in this situation , it was a Czech talking to someone from Finland ?
            I terms.of Suarez – look at the words used before
            This wasn’t him going , ‘ oh hello ….’ And not knowing
            Plus at that point he had been in Europe enough times to know it’s not accepted

  11. edward joseph small says:

    I have always been of the impression that racists are no different to bullies, basically cowardsThat need their little groups around them. I am a bit old-fashioned but basically I think a good old kicking Goes a long way.

  12. Argooner says:

    I don’t want to downplay Lacazette but I think you may be reading more into this than there actually is. I’m not sure that he deliberately did this as a signal to Slavia, rather he is our centre forward and was taking the kick off so was naturally in that position. If it was his intention then fair play to him, but it seems like you’re making more of it than there actually was.

    1. guy says:

      You may be right Argooner. That”s often how legends are born!

  13. Daniel Smith says:

    well not just me

    1. Argooner says:

      What does it matter if it’s not just you, you’re the only one that’s written an article on here. If you’re just going to write the same thing as others what’s the point? Like I said I may be wrong, but it’s just another point to be raised. Rather than get defensive why not address it? Considering you always ask people to be kind in the comments you’re incredibly dismissive of others.

      1. Daniel Smith says:

        because my writing is based on any news in media about Arsenal
        I then write my opinions on them
        Not dismissive at all mate
        Just pointing out allot of outlets also think Lacca made a stance

  14. guy says:

    If you read my post Dan, I at no time even implied that FIFA were lying. Based upon the only report I have seen I believed FIFA said “on the balance of probabilty”. This suggested to me that they did not have indisputable proof that it happened – in legal terms probably circumstantial rather than direct evidence, and this allows, at least for now, the Czech authorities to say innocent until proven guilty. I too personally think he probably did say something intentionally racist, but I don’t yet KNOW this. I was simply asking whether a full report had been published.

    1. Daniel Smith says:

      my article says we are waiting for UEFA to release their findings
      I was asked what is he guilty of ?
      UEFA have said guilty of ‘ racial hatred towards Kamara’
      I believe UEFA

  15. antonioro says:

    This is a football blog,not a political one.Author should keep his political point of view for himself or move to a political blog.Last time I checked ,both FIFA and Olympic Game board precisely forbbid the mixture of politics inside sport’s world.But looks like UEFA decided by itself to allow a political movement gesture to interfere with a game of football.UEFA is trying to impose a politically correct view to people having nothing to do with BLM movement.Which is wrong.BLM is not exactly a peaceful an immaculate movement and has nothing to do with Europe.This is an American problem and America is different to Europe.Just play sport on the pitch and do politics at home.This is the reason the American public refuse to attend live games anymore-they pay the ticket to see sport,not politics.Keep the politics away from sport and things are going to get better.

    1. Daniel Smith says:

      Lots of Sports / sites channels have posted this story. Are they wrong

      I’m sorry that saying racism is wrong makes you blush mate

    2. guy says:

      Antonioro – well said my friend.

      I wish the lead article had never been posted, and I apologise – I wish I had never been drawn into commenting myself. I see that most of my friends on JA have had the good sense to stay away. I enjoy talking about the football, but this article and some of the unpleasant personal attacks it has induced have really left a bad taste in my mouth.

      Thanks for posting your thoughts, and hope to chat with you about the football in future.

      Please Admin – don’t publish any more like this, or you will lose the goodwill you have built up, and fans will move to other sites.

      1. Dan says:

        It’s had 51 comments ,mostly positive
        The article simply says racism is wrong and well done to Lacca – which you most have known by the title ?
        Don’t watch sky sports news , they are running the same story
        No one has offended you mate

      2. jon fox says:

        guy, I respectfully suggest you read my post, which, unusually, takes a different view from yours, (further down this thread).
        ID LIKE YOUR COMMENTS, ONCE YOU HAVE READ IT, IF YOU WOULD PLEASE. I share your ideal but say it is impossible in this day and age not to mix the two.

    3. Sean M says:

      You can’t say “lets not allow political posts” then make a political post. If you got bated, that’s on you. Otherwise, feel free to just move on.

    4. ozziegunner says:

      40 odd years ago, I coached schoolboy Rugby League teams (while playing for the town myself), in which approximately 50% of the players were aboriginal boys, under 9’s the first season and under 9’s and 10’s (2 teams) the second season. The racial abuse those boys suffered on field and from the sidelines on some Saturday mornings was appalling. From winning nothing previously, I coached them in solid fundamentals, had them return the abuse with hard tackling and we won 3 premierships in those two years. A number of players continued to play Rugby League and some graduated to play grade for that town.
      What came from the mouths of the 10yo was learnt from their parents.

    5. jon fox says:

      ANTONIORO, My view – which I think many will share – is that it is both naive AND a hopeless quest to try separating sport, which is played by people, from politics which is about people. In an ideal, less divisive world and indeed in the majority of times, it is easily possible not to mix the two.

      BUT when an issue such as the one being discussed arises, as they do so often, it is inevitable that humans will take personal standpoints and that means being political , even though not party political. I’d rethink your point of view were I you, EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT DOUBT YOU MEAN WELL.
      After all, seeking to do something impossible to achieve leads only to frustration, rather than accepting how human nature just is!

  16. Dan says:

    If he’s that offended by politics being involved in sport he wouldn’t watch any sport period
    In 2021 politics is all over the place in sport

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