I mean soccer, by the way.
Rio Ferdinand is all peeved with FIFA or UEFA or someone because of racist insults hurled at Emile Heskey during a match against Croatia. Croatia has been fined. This is apparently insufficient.
Now, I am not saying that crowds should yell racist imprecations at Emile Heskey. If you need insulting things to shout at Emile Heskey, I have lots that aren’t racist, like, for instance, that he’s a completely pants footballer.
All joking aside, however, such behavior is reprehensible.
I don’t know that it’s more reprehensible than the kind of revolting, coarse treatment meted out to David Beckham when he got married. There were disgusting chants reflecting on his wife’s virtue. You stay classy, Britain.
But racist chants are certainly not more reprehensible than actual, real violence. Where people get beat up and sometimes killed in and around the stadium.
Atlético Madrid was supposed to play some Champions League ties away from its home stadium because fans apparently cannot refrain from attacking each other. They appealed it, and will be playing in the Vicente Calderón, but…wait…hold up…am I serious? That’s right. There are people out there who cannot bear not to beat someone up for the whole ninety minutes of a football match. And they’re not even all English. These are grown men. Well, for a given value of “grown men” that involves being raging, immature psychopaths when at sporting events.
In the United States, opposing fans do not risk their lives when sitting in the home seats. They get yelled at, and insulted, but relatively few punches are thrown, and riot police are seldom if ever necessary. Supporters’ sections are a preference, not a necessity.
Racist chants are definitely ignorant, offensive, and undesirable. But there are other problems to be addressed first–problems that have life or death consequences. Admirable sentiment, Rio, but there are bigger fish to fry.
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