Where is the ‘Integrity Of The Game’ when racism is still happening in football?

Where’s ‘Integrity Of The Game’ When Racism Happens? By Dan Smith

The saddest part of the Ian Wright story this week is that it’s not more of a story. Premiership clubs complaining about having to play in neutral venues seems more of a concern then racial abuse again transpiring in the sport.

The irony being that ‘integrity of the game’ has become the buzzword when deciding how/when/if we relaunch football, yet those in power lack the gumption to make a stance against racism. When do we have meetings about that issue?

When does it become unfair to play in those circumstances?

Where’s your zero tolerance on the subject?

I’m not talking about asking players to wear a few shirts or take photos in front of the latest slogan, I’m talking about an agreement on points deductions, empty stadiums, etc.

England missed a trick a year ago in Bulgaria where the chance was there to set an example to the world.

It was sad to see Ian Wright himself try to convince everyone it was a powerful moment in the fight against racism because by halting the game it caused awareness, it forced television companies world-wide to show that people with those views still existed in 2020.

Imagine though if Harry Kane had walked his players off?

Imagine the pressure UEFA would have been under if a major European qualifier couldn’t be completed?

Instead we ignored it. The monkey chants carried on, Nazi salutes were still made, yet the likes of Sterling had to deal with it. I said it at the time …. that’s not zero tolerance…

Bulgaria were fined just 65,000 for racial abuse, that’s 21,000 thousand less then what Nicolas Bendtner had to pay for having a sponsor on his underwear. So how can we be surprised that a generation are growing up not taking a criminal offence seriously?

A teenager has stepped forward to police admitting sending these vile messages to Ian Wright (so vile I choose not to repeat them here). The biggest concern being that this is an incident that Wright flagged up, meaning others have occurred where he didn’t. Other players also deal with this daily but don’t speak out.

What makes a young man feel the need to resort to those words based on not liking someone else’s opinion? Would he say that in school? In work? To someone’s face? In a sense society has let him down.

He would have grown up to things happening all the time around him.

We live in an era where everyone can share an opinion and say and do what they want, confusing freedom of speech to being nasty to another human being. What’s a Katy Hopkins become famous for?

Football has also become an environment where people believe they can say or do what they want. The most famous fans on AFTV are the ones who are most negative and swear the most.

This young male takes football so seriously he resorts to racial abuse. Yet I bet if the team he supports were deducted points next week for racial abuse he would care?

Yet this moron would have grown up seeing fan channels call Ozil the C word and get views for it. He would have watched Chelsea fans verbally abusing Sterling and getting zero punishment. Man City fans did the same to Fred, a banana was thrown at Aubameyang.

Time and again are clubs get reported in Europe for the sick chants that away fans sing. Over the last few years there has been a rise in arrests at games and complaints of racism, yet we still wait for the first ever Premiership punishment of a points deduction or a ban of fans.

What is worse is it’s becoming less and less newsworthy, like it’s becoming an accepted practice.
The biggest learning tool a child has is us as adults. If they see us swearing at Xhaka because he misplaced a pass, they will think it’s acceptable. For example, if you went to the theatre but you thought the acting was poor would that give you the right to stand up and verbally abuse the person on stage? No, you would sit and be quiet.

You only know to act like that because generations have role modelled to you that this is how you behave in a theatre, in a restaurant, etc.

Football has the power to set standards. If they really wanted to, they could make a huge example out of anyone who doesn’t follow those standards. 20 owners could simply sign a document that means that any racial abuse heard and proven will result in empty stadiums or points deductions. They won’t, for the same reason social media won’t make changes …. money.

The minute the Emirates had away fans banned, or a club is losing points based on racism, it affects their precious brand as the best League in the world. Better to ignore it and twice a year ask players to wear a shirt?

Just like Facebook and Twitter. It would be easy for those companies to set up accounts where you have to confirm your address (Like you would if you registered on a betting site, etc). Yet how they look at it is ‘why change a formula that makes millions’?

So next time I hear football claim they are caring about the ‘integrity of the game’, I want them to think of a key part of Ian Wright’s statement ……’NORMALLY I’m good at ignoring it but THIS TIME it bothered me’.

Think about that?

A man in 2020 is admitting he’s self-taught himself to accept racism in this country.

Integrity of The Game?

Dan Smith

24 Comments

  1. ken1945 says:

    Amen to everything in your post Dan, once again you hit the nail on the head.

    I’m afraid it is getting worse and one only has to look across the pond and how Trump is leading that country to know it’s going to get worse.

    1. jon fox says:

      Ken, Please read my post below. It outlines an important principle! I would welcome your thoughts on my outlined principle please.

  2. Alanball08 says:

    Morning ken
    I do hope you and family are well and keeping safe
    It is unacceptable in this day of age we are still talking about it and dan mentioned football has the power to tackle this. I disagree…we as human beings can enpower ours selfs to make a difference
    Dont look to the other person to change it.. look to your self to change it
    Unfortunately some people are led by politicians who seem to inept and incompetent and the last few weeks has highlighted this.
    We have good and bad in every one, no matter what race, creed colour or religion
    In 2020 we have made massive strides in tackling this compared to 1960, 70s, 80s, 90 ect

    Life is to short people.
    We need to Enjoy it, savour it. make our world a better place because in a blink of an eye it soon zooms past us all..
    Stand up and be counted and say “NO”
    KEEP SAFE EVERYONE

    1. ken1945 says:

      Alanball08, good morning to you and glad to hear you’re safe and well. – as are we and thanks for asking.

      With all the power we are being told regarding football in our society, along with how many jobs it sustains, this industry has the moral duty to be leaders in the 21st century against racism – unfortunately they are weak and useless.

  3. Shakir says:

    In this day and age,hearing these stuff is a surprise for you i dont think so.

    There can be organizations,movements or many other things against these indifferences now but then why is it happening on a higher rate.Just because people smile at you wont mean that they like you.

    The problem is mindset and attitude of the abusers but the bigger problem is how agendas are carried out to create and manipulate or use these so called abusers.

    Who gets profited from this,its hard to dig out but i know for a fact that someone really do…

    1. Allanball08 says:

      Shakir I am sorry I didnt explain myself clearer
      I meant in this day and age I would have thought we would have tackled this problem by now and we havent
      I find it totally dispicaplal and sickening
      Ken I agree with you football has a moral duty to lead thos but like many of our politicians they seems to be spineless But
      We still all need to to stand up and take ownership of this matter and not tolerate the false smile as my good associate Shakir has mentioned and single the people concerned out ….without violence may I say

  4. jon fox says:

    Awonderful article beautifully argued with much to like and agree.
    However, I am going to totally disagree with the principle of punishing everyone (bypoints deductions etc) for the sins of the individual. There is a KEY matter ar stake here. If we punish innocent people en masse for the sins of the few who are guilty we behave wrongly and that is dishonest and also immoral. We need to clamp down on the individuals concerned andNOT punish the innocent in any way. That way you do not build resentment and false solutions.
    When still a young pre- teenage schoolboy I stood up to the headmaster in my school and lobbied against this principle and with parental support -from many other parents too – overturned a clearproposesd injustice. I was not prepared, nor were my parents, to be punished for something I had not done !

    THIS IS A VITAL AND LIBERTARIAN PRINCIPLE WORTH FIGHTING TO PRESERVE. No court of law knowingly punishes others for the wrong doing of one individual and nor should football be doing so.

    Two wrongs NEVER make a right!
    The way to tackle this moron is to change the law and enable courts to identify him, aided by the media and open him and his personal address to widespread scorn from society . People power does far more good than ajiling him eve reould , which would tend to harden his disgraceful attitudes. After a short period under house supervision, just a few weeks(where he would receive scorn in many ways, possibly from parents or family too), he should then be made to do voluntary work, under close supervision, for disadvantaged folk and given a chance to learn, in practical ways, the error in his “thinking”.

    This approach is liberal, it works more often than not and is the right thing to do. Punishing ALL for the misdeeds of one or a very few is WRONG. Nothing alters that fact and that correct principle! PLEASE THINK ON!

    Where racist abuse happens in a stadium where ALL our players are a TEAM, then in THOSE cases it is imperative that ALL the team walk off the field . That is an act against the team not merely the individual and a fundamentally different rule applies. Always act on the correct principles in life and you will stay on the right road..

    1. Siamois says:

      Very good comment from Jon and can only agree with him!

    2. ken1945 says:

      Jon, I agree with you regarding individuals, but Dan’s point regarding the fact that clubs are not punished enough, is equally valid.
      If our inept FA were to act with actions rather than platitudes, there would be Instant results.

      If clubs were deducted points and/or had to forfeit games, the majority of fans would soon be identifying these idiots and THEN we would see the individuals named and prosecuted.

      But it has to start from the top in my opinion Jon.
      As Dan identified, token fines have done nothing and football’s hierarchy response to racism is nothing short of scandalous.

      1. jon fox says:

        Sorry Ken but you cannot apply two opposing principles and still obtain get justice. Punish the guilty(who can easily beidentified with modern technology , both online and inside grounds) but NOT the innocent must be sacrosanct and NEVER varied.
        However, quite separately from the case of racism against Wrighty outlined in the article, there are many occasions when clubs as a whole are guilty and in those cases ONLY, the whole club should be punished. But KEN, principles are not barterable and open to skilful and cunning interpretation. They are to be upheld or not, as individuals decide. For me personally no sacrosanct principle can ever be bartered away for expediency. Otherwise it is NOT a real principle in the first place, is it!
        I have , as you will know, every sympathy with the fierce determination to eradicat racicm but we MUST do it the right way and not make another wrong by tackling it as you suggest.

        1. ken1945 says:

          BUT Jon, your principled argument is not working – much as I admire your principles of course.

          Using Dan’s example of token and utterly sterile fines by eufa, (when not one individual was convicted I believe) against the Bulgaria FA what message did that send out?

          Until we address the head of the serpent and cut it off, the rest of the body will carry on regardless (a little o.t.t. in descriptive terms I agree!!).

          How much longer are we expecting decent human beings to wait for justice?

          Let’s see what happens to this latest moron who targetted Wrighty in such a disgusting way – a slap on the wrist, maybe a fine and not being identified because it will fringe HIS human rights, is my prediction.

          Name and shame individuals, show their pictures. ban them from football and sentence them to a year in prison- minimum.

          For clubs/countries who do nothing to curb these morons, deduct points, play the next three games behind closed doors, make them reimburse any fan who is out of pocket and ban them from europeean competitions for two years if it happens again.

          That, for me Jon, will be justice and the punishment fits the crime perfectly – at least people like Wrighty etc will know they are being taken seriously and not being given lip service!

          1. jon fox says:

            KEN My principled argument which you say is not working, has in fact not yet been tried , because the law is on the wrong path and does not apply real thought to the problem of racism. It is curable if the right tactics are applied.

            What actually happens is thatit is your solutionthat has not worked; mine has not had its chance – think if you can recall ANY offender who has yet been treated in the way I suggest and then you will see I am right IN SAYING IT HAS NEVER EVEN BEEN TRIED – and it should be applied. I did not suggest a slap on the wrist and those are your words for my argument, but not mine.
            This is of course a deeply complicated subject and I suggest when we next speak by phone we discuss it in greater depth.
            But for now, suffice to say that I will never accept the wrong principle of punishing the many for the sins of the few or of the individual. That can NEVER be right, but it is what you are suggesting we do. So, til we next speak lets agree to differ. Our hearts are in the same place , it is just our solutions that differ.

    3. Allanball08 says:

      Jon
      I agree the law needs to be changed to combat this problem and with all this technology at hand I am sure we are able to pin point the culprit/s
      If judgement is found to be guilty then my punishment would be to dress them up in a bright pink/yellow boiler suit and the crime they have committed plastered on the front and back of the boiler
      Chain gang them, march them down the high street and make them pick up the crap from the street..

      Sending them off with a fine or a few hours community service and painting a few railings doesnt work for me
      But on top of this educating the people plays a big part in this problem

      1. jon fox says:

        Allanball, We are broadly on the same page with solutions. But I did not suggest and so agree with you that such as painting railings is NOT remotely sensible. I do not agree with the chain gang etc comment though. Not at all.

        The WHOLE POINT OF BEING MADE TO WORK DIRECTLY FOR DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE (NOT OBJECTS LIKE RAILINGS OR CUTTING GRASS) is that the offenders see how awful life is for so many unfortunate folk and get to interreact with them and be able to help them and get a feeling of being worth while.

        Punishment without TRUE rehabilitation(not useless, fake rehab) ,involving other innocent folk, is pointless and often does more harm than good and the trick is to thus be shown close up how ordinary, decent people live and then be pointed towards TRULY seeing the error of their ways.

        Were I Minister for Justice or Home Secretary in PARLIAMENT, I WOULD INTRODUCE A TOTALLY NEW WAY OF REHABILITATION and much reduce the prison population for all but hardened criminals. Not just lock up for years, immature, often low IQ and social misfits, many of whom could still be of great use to society and live useful productive lives when shown the error of their ways.

        GENERALLY SOCIETY HAS NOT THE WILL NOR IS YET EVOLVED ENOUGH TO SEE HOW THIS WOULD WORK AND SO HAS NOT PROPERLY TRIED IT.

        THEY TALK A LOT ABOUT REHAB BUT ONLY PITIFUL ATTEMPTS ARE ACTUALLY MADE,IN MOST CASES. Education, as you rightly say, is also of vital importance.

        It would NOT work for older career type criminals who generally need locking up for good to protect innocent folk. Some are beyond redemption but most are not beyond it.

        1. Alanball08 says:

          Hi jon
          The chain gang was said in some jest but not totally ruleing out a name and shame program
          Not sure of the short time solution for tackling racism but each decade that has gone by in my medium life span it has got better but still not acceptable it has not been totally quashed
          As of mixed race growing up in the 70s and 80s omg it was pretty strong and at times frightening travelling around the country
          Going over to the back end of shed in the 70s and 80s was like dropping in at the head office of the right wing party.
          Your probably asking What has that got to do with punishment and justice now…
          Time jon time
          Thing have changed and things are still changing. I still have faith in the human race that more and more people will not judge a person by his colour or religion but by the person he or she is
          Theres a song by sam Cooke I love
          Change is gonna come
          It is happening….
          If you were minister of justice I would lobby you to ensure you pass a law too say if you were a spud supporter then life of hard labour would be imposed on you…just joking my spud friends.
          Keep well and safe young jon and may that go out to all of you, including spud supporter lotiering around on this very good site.

  5. Jah son says:

    A very good article. Personally I think the media plays the biggest role in the racism issue. If what happen at the games are called out and people publicly exposed it would come to a halt. But see just like on the pitch the referees decide who gets a penalty. Remember that former liverpool player now pundit who spat from his car window. MEDIA

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Good point Jah Son. To me that just shows what a cheap, bias, tv channel Sky Sports is. I’m convinced his mate Gary Neville kept him in his job, after all, everyone knows that Manchester United and Liverpool are their favourite clubs. Andy Gray, ten times a better sports pundit than Carragher loses his job over a harmless joke with a female colleague although inappropriate whereas Carragher spits in the face of a 14 year old girl who done him no harm whatsoever is brought back and reinstated in his job. Absolutely disgraceful

      1. Sue says:

        I agree about that dirty sod Carragher!

  6. Sue says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Dan 👍

  7. Mogunna says:

    Same ignorance, different year!

    For now and months coming, no public in stadium.

    No monkeys screaming in stadiums!

    1. ken1945 says:

      Absolutely regarding your first sentence.

      Until society takes racism as a very serious crime, it will continue to happen.

      Have we learnt nothing from Hitler and other despots around the world??
      It seems not!!!

  8. Mobella says:

    What is this world turning to. We live now in a world where media tells one evil is bigger than the other. And here everyone is concentrating on the “racist” words use by the boy which is lesser evil imo but ignored the bigger evil in which a spoilt, ill-mannered,poorly trained and educated teenager have the freedom to have a goal at a man old enough to be his father. The bigger issue here is the disrespect shown by the boy. Would it be ok if the boy put Wright in everywhere he put monkey in his tweet. I have said several times here, there is no racist in football. No team is made up of all white players or black players in advance league. So every fan is supporting a club with one or many white or black players. It is the media that is paying too much and unnecessary attention to this issue. Football fan sometimes let loose the demons in them in a game to unbalance their team opponent and their fans in other to give their team a chance of winning. There are several players from my country that plays and receive good support in Bulgarian. We see here and their in match day where the so called racists jumping for joys when a black player scored for their team.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Mobella, I have said racism of ANY kind is wrong, no matter who is saying it to whom.

      There will always be people who, despite their upbringing, go down a path that they choose themselves – for better or worse.

      At the age of seventeen, this moron should know what is right and what is wrong – blaming others for what he has done is a cop out, both for him and society in general.

      How you can say there is no racism in football beggars belief, just watch the Bulgaria game again for starters.

      1. jon fox says:

        Ken Spot on . I do fail to understand Mobellas reasoning on many matters.
        I ALLOW THAT ENGLISH IS NOT HIS FIRST LANGUAGE BUT HIS THOUGHTS WERE CLEAR, WHEN SLOWLY READING THEM ONCE OR TWICE. BUT HIS THINKING IN GENERAL LEAVES MUCH TO BE DESIRED I FIND.

        Bulgaria is among the very worst countries for racism in the whole world and to say differently is either deliberately false or the comment of someone wearing blinkers. The latter is the one I believe to be truth!

Comments are closed