Those who think racism does not live globally only have to look on the football pitch of Manchester United in England. Recently Luis Suarez (Uruguayan) was suspended for 8 games for racist comments directed to black Frenchman, Patrice Evra, on the field. Suarez’s suspension was lifted after the 8 games and it added to the drama of today’s game against Manchester United when he refused to shake Evra’s hand before the game. This was compounded when Rio Ferdinand refused to shake Suarez hand, because his brother, Anton Ferdinand, had racist comments directed towards him from John Terry, Rio’s international teammate. Terry was recently stripped of his captaincy from the English National Team because of those comments. Was Rio Ferdinand taking a stand against racism or was he simply supporting his teammate in that moment?
There have been documented occurrences of inappropriate conduct of fans shouting racist slurs. Clubs and federations have even banned an entire fan base from watching the games due to racist actions that occurred in previous matches. I imagine that there have been hundreds of occurrences of on-pitch racism in the past, but with technology and expert lip readers it’s now hard to hide what you say to others on the pitch. Players even cover their months when they talk to each other while the cameras are rolling.
Even if Suarez was innocent in the proceedings held by the FA or felt injustice with his 8 game suspension, he only made himself look unprofessional and in fact a racist by not shaking hands with Frenchman Patrice Evra.
On the flipside Patrice Evra showed a bit of unprofessionalism by over celebrating after the game and making it a point to celebrate in front of Suarez. Oh, did I mention that there was a football game occurring between handshakes and celebrations?
Manchester United did win by a 2-1 margin but was superseded by the racist cloud that is hanging over the Barclays Premier League.
My hope is that one of the most diverse sports in the world will recover from the racist slurs and allegations that are becoming a common theme in this year’s most riveting season on the pitch.