Normally all of the Outsideleft’s coincidental, sports-adjacent, sports columns come with a pretty full on pretty inconsequential feel. There are no budding Mailer’s around here, no one is about to rewrite The Fight, no one is going to come to the defence of the 2010 designer of those farcical French football shirts for the World Cup (still bringing the game into disrepute after all of these years). We are always going to ponder whether Mark Lawrenson - who had easily assumed the heady mantle of the most miserable man in football, really stepped down because of the ubiquity of HD?
from the good old days, obviously
At England’s warm up games for the European Championships, commentators were seemingly taken by surprise by the loud boos ringing around the stadium during the 10 second pre-game anti-racist stance taken by the players, one of the most racially diverse international football teams in the world. Some players took the knee in the style of American athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick, as they have been doing in the UK football leagues for a while, some players chose to stand, but either way there is a ten second pause for solidarity, for tolerance, and for awareness of racism that is not a football problem but a societal one. Where others have waffled, withered and obfuscated, footballers have chosen to take a public stance while representing their country and for that they are greeted by masses of boos. It’s like the fans don’t know where they live anymore.
This was during the week when a child running for their life, was chased down and stabbed to death by men in their 30s, in what is being investigated, I believe as a racist attack. I can only imagine the general lack of news interest in this is because… Maybe the crime is just too abhorrent to contemplate. You’d think the Home Secretary or someone would be dispatched to the area for some platitudes and a photo opportunity at least.
Still the boos will rain down on Sunday when the competition gets underway for the England team. The world will be watching and when the boos come, football commentators from most every nation on earth will be tasked with explaining to their home audiences that somehow in this self-styled most tolerant nation on earth, a boo is not a cheer for racism.
Another Outsideleft contributor mentioned that they would be taking the knee by their computer.
I didn’t see it, but a member of parliament from the governing party got on TV and said that people booing anti racist gestures were not racists. That might be one of the most risible things I have ever heard. Ifa person is so exorcised by a ten second pause to draw attention to the problem of racism in your country that their response is to boo, then...
There's been a lot of talk about keeping politics out of sport, or how taking the knee is not a political thing. I can barely be bothered to answer that and I am going to wrap up here.
Someone in Whitehall is probably contemplating giving the pre-game audio for England game on Sunday a D-Notice. That way it never happened. Seems like the best they can come up with.
Main Image: 1970 World Cup Squad on Top of the Pops from a YouTube screengrab
Kick it Out - football anti racist org
Rock Against Racism
Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT, relentlessly records instrumental easy listening tracks, and is always completing the short story collection, Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere. More info at AncientChampion.com
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