Well done to Başakşehir and PSG for showing zero tolerance towards racism

Well Done Istanbul And PSG! By Dan Smith

I wrote a recent article giving my opinion on some fans booing players for ‘taking the knee‘. I had submitted the piece before the events in Paris.

Istanbul Başakşehir’s assistant manager accused the 4th official of making a racial comment towards him. Substitute Demba Ba could be heard asking, ‘why refer to him as that Black Man?’ When PSG players heard the allegations, they joined their rivals in walking off the pitch, never to return.

In one moment their actions did more for the fight against racism then any pre-match ritual, slogan, banner or shirt.

Football has always been guilty of being hypocritical. They say they have zero tolerance towards discrimination but take the cowards way when it’s time to take action.

England’s players didn’t have the courage to abandon their game with Bulgaria – and there was nothing ‘alleged’ about the abuse they received. Bulgarian fans were shown on TV making a Nazi salute while monkey chants were audible.

On that night, fulfilling your fixture obligation to appease networks, sponsors and FIFA was more important than zero tolerance.

Under zero pressure, the Bulgarian authorities were fined 75,000, less then Bendtner was fined for having sponsorship on his underwear. The FA then didn’t have the gumption to point out how soft was the punishment.

Then we wonder how Greg Clarke, paid thousands to be in charge of the English game, use the offensive words he did in front of MP’s?

It’s okay though, take a knee, wear a fancy wrist band! Actions speak louder than words ….

What the players did on Tuesday was they backed UEFA into a corner, especially by refusing to come back out.

If everyone had just walked over to the side of the pitch for a few minutes before playing on, the Governing body wouldn’t care this morning.

Instead they were forced to act, acutely aware that they had a worldwide audience and advertisers who won’t be happy the Champions League resorted to this.

That’s what zero tolerance is.

No ifs or buts, no excuses.

That’s what the two teams were insisting. In 2020, it’s unacceptable for anyone to be abused for the colour of their skin, so what are you in charge of the sport going to do about it?

Whether they are conscious of this or not, it helps the fight so much that it’s PSG making the stance. With great power comes great responsibility.

Neymar and Mbappe have all kinds of endorsement deals, insane social media numbers. These are the players UEFA can’t afford to be upsetting.

Sponsors are more likely to put pressure on EUFA if Neymar is accusing the product of racism, than say if it happened between Kiev vs Ferencvaros.

There’s always been talk of teams fearing points deductions for abandoning a game. Good luck taking on PSG’s owners!

It’s like the World Cup in Qatar. We are all aware of the unlawful labour practices that has transpired in building the stadiums, yet FIFA turn the other cheek. Imagine if a Ronaldo or Messi in protest refused to travel. Imagine the money FIFA would lose?

That’s sadly the only way to get some to listen, when they see they might lose money…

Cynically, you could argue this was a meaningless fixture for the visitors. Would they have done the same if this were 14 mins into a knockout tie?

It’s a start though.

And in 24 hours it’s been more impactful than a year of ‘taking a knee’.

Well done Istanbul and PSG!

Be Kind In The Comments


Tags Başakşehir PSG racism


  1. Very well done by players of both teams. This is how we will root out the curse of racism from the face of the earth. Thats the spirit, than hats off!

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong but ‘Negro’ in a lot of countries means black in a non-derogatory way, just a word for the colour?

    So he was described as a black man, let’s not blow it out of proportion here. If there are 6 coaching staff, all wearing similar team colours, and you need to identify someone then I don’t see the problem honestly.

    Is he black man? Yes

    Is there something wrong with being a black man? No

    If there were 10 black gentlemen on the coaching staff and one white guy, and someone said “It’s the white guy over there” there wouldn’t be an issue and rightly so. Are you saying anything bad about the race, of course not.

    If he was the only one wearing a luminous yellow tracksuit, I can guarantee that that is how he would have been described.

    So what exactly is the issue with being called black? I don’t see anything bad about being black, do you?

    1. I believe it’s just a cultural misunderstanding, with the coach being from Cameroon where the word is very offensive.

      But the press enjoy drama and people love to be the victim…

      1. I agree with you ,I don’t believe that he thought he said anything untoward .
        Negro in Romanian means Black .

      2. The word for “black” in Romania is “negru” (according to Google)

        Context is everything. The fourth official may be a racist or he may not be. But I dont agree that describing the one black coach who is dressed the same as five other white coaches as “black” is in itself a racist act. Any more than describing the only 75 year old coach who is dressed the same as five younger coach as “the grey haired one” is ageist.

        Context is everything. If I am talking about a certain colleague in the Finance Team at work, I won’t mention she is black if it isn’t relevant to the story. But if another colleague says “I’m not sure who that is, can you describe her?” and she happens to be the only black person working in the finance department, then I might include that in my description.

        There are plenty of occasions where I wish teams had walked off the pitch. In fact I took my boy’s team off the pitch a few years ago because of racist comments directed toward one of my players.

        If this case makes it easier for teams to do so then hopefully some good will come out of it BUT I just wish it was done for an occasion that isn’t potentially simply a misunderstanding or at the very least can be dismissed as such.

      3. Depends on context and tone which given the reaction of the players I assume wasn’t great
        Would he have said that white person.?
        I wouldn’t have said it put it that way

        1. I get that and probably wouldn’t have put it that way either, especially in these charged times. But as we agree, context is everything and there have been times in my life that I’ve used skin colour to help describe someone.

          I’m just saying that if I was looking to show that racism still exists in football — which I have no doubt does as football sadly reflects society — this is not the case that I would hold up.

    2. There is certainly truth in your point But thereal issue is far more nuanced than merely that point, even though it is fair to point it out. Equally true is the fact that different countries have different cultures and in many Spanish speaking countries the word used has very different connotations from English speaking ones.
      But more important still is the certain knowledge of how the N word, as used in English speaking countries, gives great offence. ALL in football , no matter from where, OUGHT to be aware of that and thus have no excuse for using it and claiming innocence, by cultural differences.

      In modern times, the collective “we” are far more aware of sensibilities than in the past and thus have made social progess. Not enough, not by a long chalk, but still a great deal.

      There are many more fine nuances still in what is a deeply emotive and intensely detailed discussion. In a mere post I cannot go into greater depth but will soon be submitting a lengthy article going into much more depth on this thorny subject.
      For now, I just wish to stand with Dan and the majority on here who stand for humane decency and respect in ACTIONS, which will always outweigh mere words, important though words are, towards all our race of fellow humans.

    3. @PJ-SA. I appreciate your point of view because it shows that you are not racist. However I bet your comment would have been different if you were black.

  3. PJ-SA, at first read, your reply seems to make sense, but on reflection, your analysis of the situation does not.
    Just think about what you are saying – only one black man?
    There were certainly more than one – why didn’t the fourth official just point to him?
    If the man involved heard what was said, he must have been near enough to have been easily identified by using a direct pointing out of the player.
    It is interesting to note that, as far as I am aware, the official involved has not denied the claim – innocently said or not.

    Dan, any protest against the establishment, no matter if it’s political, sport or any other obvious grievance has to start somewhere and the “taking of the knee” has been a great rallying cry around the world – I applaud it’s impact on the sporting world and find nothing wrong with it.
    I would do it without any hesitation, as I would walk off the pitch.

    Just like wearing a poppy, it is in recognition of lives taken unnecessarily and, hopefully, a reminder of what can happen when we, the people, remain silent and look the other way.
    That’s when tyranny, despots, inequality and unchecked brutality is allowed to be the norm.

    I agree, full marks to both teams and I am so pleased that MA has said he will support our players if they encounter any form of racism and walk off the field of play.

    Of course, the action on Tuesday, has had an instant response by the corrupt governing bodies, but never underestimate how /why that action became possible – decent human beings showing their support for each other with a simple bending of the knee.

    Your point regarding the upcoming world Cup venue and slavery practices would be an excellent article for your type of sound thinking – meanwhile I suggest that fans read what Tony Attwood via Untold Arsenal has written – one will be amazed that in this day and age, we have human beings treating each other in this way.

  4. Well done to the players. I think the BLM, no to racism, kick racism out etc all play a part in getting rid of addressing racism.

    The thing is that alot of people are ignorant to racism. Not because they don’t beleive it exists but they are just unaware of it. They beleive things are okay just because on the surface they look okay.

    Had this play had ignored the comments and continued. No one would be any the wiser. This is why I beleive taking the knee, printing BLM on jerseys etc is a vital part of moving forward. It has brought racism to for forefront and allowed players to find a voice. Racism is constantly being questioned and spoken about so it now feels safer to talk about things and even challenge racism.

    Weldone guys

  5. It has been on and on for fans and off field official to do that, but thanks to no fans that made the coach hear that. Culture or values or not, the white man said that by describing a well grown man of your age. Why can’t he say that gentle man on specific clothing/ colour.
    The word negro is to describe black color, but where it’s been said and from who said it and even the context of situation for disciplinary measures against the coach made him raise his voice. Many has been said even by the referee to Mikel I’m Chelsea shirt against Man united. So the coach had to raise the issue up and for Ba to support him as a known player , was a good idea.
    The uefa need to address the issue of racism before it happens to players like ibrahimovic who is outspoken and brands ambassadors like neymar and mbappe who are likely to be victims one day

  6. Now for me I think this is way over.. Whats the problem in pointing that he was black? Isn’t he black? Isn’t the movement called “black” lives matter? It came to the point that people are being over sensitive. I am black my self and if someone referred to me as a black man I don’t see an issue to it.. As one commenters before me said.. People these days just love to be the victims

    1. Again it’s context. There is an article just posted that asks the question “Should we give up on Willian?”. Clearly not racist.

      But if the question was “Should we give up on our black player Willian?” then I think most of us would have concerns about why the author felt the need to refer to his skin colour.

  7. I am one of those who tend to get a little upset with racist remarks. Especially during a gaming session on-line for example. The “N” word is all too familiar and, I personally feel angry when I hear people (scum bags) use it.

    In recent times however, I find the more we react and push for racism to be a thing of the past, the more of a problem it becomes. Racism is almost bred into youngster at a young age. Depending on where you are form can have a more indirect manner towards colour or religion. Both of which are a common cause for hatred and war. The it is debated, the more it becomes a problem. I can’t help but feel that if there were five men in a line and four of them were black and one was white, would we react differently if the man who was white was referred to as white by a man who was black?

    My point is, racism is on the increase because we are so politically correct, that even the word black is becoming a word that no one can or wants to use any more. In schools there are no “black” boards any more. Do you believe every casino in Vegas should change roulette tables from black and red to blue and red?

    It’s an oppression of will and freedom that is increasing the very fabric of racism. Racism is everyone to a degree. The way we deal with it is the problem because it’s an issue that is centuries old and cannot be wiped out on a global scale with the same methods. I am white. I am not racist and see people of a different colour as equals. If people of colour can focus on compassion and pitty the racist, the world will be a better place.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs