Only a Game - No room for racism in football

Liverpool, England - Tuesday, May 1, 2007: Liverpool fans on the Spion Kop hold up a banner reading 'We're not English We Are Scouse' before the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Chelsea at Anfield. (Pic by Andy Teebay/Propaganda)
Liverpool, England - Tuesday, May 1, 2007: Liverpool fans on the Spion Kop hold up a banner reading 'We're not English We Are Scouse' before the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Chelsea at Anfield. (Pic by Andy Teebay/Propaganda)

Earlier this week the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence got justice for their son when Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of the murder 18 years after it took place.

Journalists the length and breadth of England went out on the streets to try and ascertain whether racism prevailed. It does.

When asked for his thoughts on the sentencing of Dobson and Norris one elderly man in south London suggested that the pair had been framed and the only reason it was making the news was because “a nigger got done”.

On Friday evening during the FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Oldham Athletic racism reared its ugly head yet again.

Latics defender Tom Adeyemi broke down in tears when it appeared a Liverpool fan shouted something at him from the stand.

It’s attention that Liverpool would have liked to have avoided, especially as it comes hot on the heels of the alleged racist language used by Liverpool player Luis Suarez when referring to Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Liverpool fans, and I know quite a few of them, are not racist. Liverpool FC is not, as some may claim, inherently racist.

However, the club owe a sense of duty to the players and fans to deal with racism when it surfaces.

If it does transpire that a Liverpool fan directed racial abuse towards Tom Adeyemi then he should face the full power of the judicial system.

There’s no room for racism in football anymore and the sooner that some of the dinosaurs in football stop trivialising the use of such language on and off the pitch the better chance society has of stamping it out altogether.

Witnesses to Friday night’s incident at Anfield claimed to hear a fan or fans call Adeyemi ‘a f*****g black b*****d’. The police are conducting an investigation and after the game between the two teams finished Adeyemi was interviewed by the police.

Some would have us believe that what happened on Friday night is much ado about nothing but that’s a dangerous path to go down.

If people choose to trivialise racist language in football or on the street then where does the apathy stop?

Stephen Lawrence was murdered because he was black. Tom Adeyemi was verbally abused because he is black. Quite frankly human beings who in engage in such behaviour have no place in modern society.

In recent months there have been too many high profile incidents involving alleged racism. Footballers, clubs and associations owe a sense of duty to attack racism when they see it.

It’s no longer acceptable to sweep such incidents under the carpet. If such attitudes are not challenged then the problem of racism in not only football but in society is certain to perpetuate itself.

The football fraternity must stand fast in the face of racism and send out the message that anyone who behaves in such a way will not be tolerated.