There are many reasons as to why I’ll say no to a banana pose. The way in which the recent racism in sport is being dealt with astounds me. It’s getting to a point now where the racist fans, players and institutions aren’t even my concern but more the black players themselves. It annoys me how no one wants to fit the ‘big, bad, black man’ stereotype when it’s controversial, but it’s OK when it’s seen as cool. I can slightly sympathies more with the players like Dani Alves working in La Liga, Serie A or the Russian league, because there are less black players and the cities they often play in are miles behind 2014’s standard of race integration. I understand why he ate the banana but it’s not sustainable to do that every time so don’t find it as humorous as the masses. It also won’t stop the racist chants because football fans chant the most ridiculous things just for the fun of it and regardless of the reaction.
There are so many non-white ballers in the Premier League and NBA; such strong, wealthy, talented men with power in numbers, yet they can’t find a pair of balls between them to make a stand. I’m all for freedom of speech but if that level of racism was displayed in any other workforce today heads would roll. It is not merely banter because if the situation was reversed and black people were dishing out the racism it would be a bigger issue than it currently is. It is a deeper level of racism that is prominent in today’s western society. Recently the European Union banned the use of the word ‘superfood’ on food packaging because they can not find clarity on what a superfood is. Yet they remain silent on the clear racial inequality that dominates one of the biggest industries within the EU.
The economics of major sport works differently to other employment forms as it allows for extended demand despite profitability and that’s why change can’t be relied on coming from the top of the hierarchy. Even more so with the lack of black referees, managers, chairmen and FA and FIFA board members. I agree, players still need the money but there comes a point where doing what is just outweighs riches and the tyrant of pleasure from watching a game. When I see a black Liverpool fan cheer when Luis Suarez scores I’m confused. I wonder what Suarez thinks when he sees a black fan support him. It is unlikely that a few match bans and a light fine can rehabilitate a person or change one’s views. It’s also disappointing that most of these players aren’t that inspiring beyond their talent. So much so I almost prefer the likes of John Terry over the Ashley Cole’s who defend them. At least I can respect Terry’s property deal and the fact he remained true to his racist self when abusing Anton Ferdinand. I can’t say the same for Cole who is still friendly with his teammate but guess they’ve got the problem of too much money to be bothered.
I think the players that do care should push to get contracts amended instead of player/club fines. That way they can strike in union to cause some disruption if they don’t want to do it solo. As well as put pressure on clubs to ban racist fans, players and managers. Many sports would be extremely boring if people were excluded on race and clubs would suffer in popularity as well as financially. In basketball the entire NBA could shut down if all non-white players refused to play.
In conclusion, I’m not impressed with the banana campaign in football, nor the silent protest and reversed t-shirts in basketball. Perhaps the players believe their salary packages compensate for racial abuse. But why are super-fans compensated just by watching? Are fans not more mindful with what they choose to put their energy into? I’d like to know how constantly watching so much sport personally serves them? And does it aid a greater good? People have been quick to jump on to the banana campaign, including Luiz Suarez himself. You have to question their intentions, who is capitalising from t-shirt sales and where this money is being invested.