Racism in soccer is a problem across the globe… [Note: I originally wrote this post in 2015 for Thanksgiving. But the year-round truth of the message is why it’s remained as a popular post.] Show love and kindness. Gratitude matters.
Thankful for the people in my life [past and present]
Some of you might be wondering how soccer & gratitude go together…
I wanted to take a moment to address the gratitude I feel for my family, friends, nation and really such an easy life compared to generations many years ago.
With my job, I’m around so many good people!
Through growing up, playing pro soccer, getting married, having kids, growing a business – it’s been great! But, I’m always looking ahead. Taking advantage of every moment – one day at a time.
Current events of racism in soccer
There are many events occurring in our world that are hard to comprehend. Based on our past as a people nation I remain hopeful for our future.
However, ugliness does exist outside America even more…
Spain has become the country known for racism in soccer worldwide. Real Madrid star Vini Jr says racism is normal in La Liga…
In Pro football [soccer] stadiums across Europe, players are being racially abused with banana’s thrown at players and chants.
The bottom line is that the governing organizations [the Federations, Clubs & FIFA] need to do more about it by not ever letting people like that in games again.
The power of soccer / futbol / football
Soccer has the ability to bring people together from different backgrounds.
Many of the world’s emotions and core fiber play out on the pitch or near the stadiums.
If love is a universal language, soccer is its translator.
Futbol allows people to find a common passion that extends beyond social, racial or cultural differences to find shared interests. In turn allows others to see the person for their individuality and nothing more.If love is the universal language, soccer is it's translator. #socceristheuniversallanguage #elfutboleselidiomauniversal Click To Tweet
“The Spanish League has a problem.” – Carlo Ancelotti [Real Madrid Manager]
Big brands form anti-racism ads
The responsibility has been left up to the Federation to educate and fix the problem fans. Some partner with brands who take things too far and divide people further.
Years ago, some of the best players in the world stood up against it [EX] Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto’o, Rio Ferdinand & Ruud Van Nistelrooy got with NIKE to put out an Anti-Racism campaign with the black & white bracelets, which is great. I liked “standing against” better than kneeling. Not a fan of kneeling to a movement or idols.
After watching some documentary videos about Football & Racism, I first thought to myself, “How crazy some people are to act like this.”
Then after seeing how some of the players react I also thought that the players shouldn’t let the fans bother them…
When you know your true identity, it’s easy to live with peace inside.
“Racism is normal in La Liga…” – Vini Jr
We play soccer to have fun
We play soccer to have fun; even though you might think some play for money it’s [usually] not true. The game was a passion before the money.
The game is more fun when you are better…
Learning how to pass and shoot the best ways and these dribbling tips will boost your skills fast!
Discrimination is a part of life
But racism is a part of life isn’t it?
Some people experience it every day and some never do, just depending on where they live… It can take many forms & names.
Yes, it’s wrong but we need to move on and be confident in who we are & surround ourselves with other people who are good-hearted & like-minded.
I want everyone I know to be aware of racism in football for different reasons…
To know what goes on and to know you are blessed to live in America, because this is one of the Least Racist places in the World. Only someone who hasn’t traveled abroad for more than a week at a resort would argue this.
I sometimes have conversation with people about current events in America and racism is sometimes one of the topics. I don’t think we need to hide from this issue.
So when I say “Well in other countries like in Europe” [and the person that I’m talking to starts to nod their head, as if they think it’s so much better there] & I say “It’s worse in other Countries,” people looked at me like I am joking.
BUT, after I share my stories, they learn how in many European Countries it’s not any better. England, Spain, Turkey, & Germany to name a few…
There’s good and bad everywhere
These are big tourist spots as well and after speaking to others who have traveled or even lived there, they want to disagree with me and say how they never experienced this there.
That’s the same as in America… I know people who are close to me and they don’t think racism is alive in America because they never see it.
This is my point: just because you don’t see racism happening around you doesn’t mean it isn’t alive today. It depends on who you are and what you do with your time in travel or work.
Wish list for racist people
The first prayer for racist people is that their hearts soften. There will always be racism, but there are many people who are changing every day through education and experiences.
People are stepping up and sharing stories to teach.
The power of gratitude is to grow together.
“Change your corner of the world.”
“Now what ya’ll know about them Texas boys…”
Living in many different places
I’m American and bi-racial, born in Texas but have lived in Colorado & Michigan as a child.
As an adult have lived in 13 cities worldwide Charleston, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Vancouver B.C., Toronto, Puerto Rico, Kingston Jamaica, Singapore, Denmark & now Dallas.
I’ve traveled to 20 Countries, for which I am grateful. Through these experiences I’ve have been educated on what goes on outside of US soil.
These experiences have given me the opportunity to share the topic of racism with others.
I have experienced racism in my life in & outside of America. I look to keep the spirit of thanksgiving alive through it.
Some people think there is no racism. Of course there is, BUT it’s not as bad as the media and celebs say!
Too many people “feel” – meaning they say they ‘feel someone or a group is racist’. There’s a big difference from your feelings and the truth.
Racism in soccer across the world
Most countries are more racist than America!
One example was in Kingston, Jamaica where I played for 3 months in my off-season with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Portmore United was the team I played for between my seasons with Vancouver. That year Portmore was the defending champs in Jamaica & the Caribbean [CONCACAF].
For this we competed in the CONCACAF Club Championships with the top 2 MLS [U.S. teams,] 4 best Liga MX [Mexican teams] and 3 Central American teams & us, the 1 Caribbean Club.
In several games I played in Jamaica I was called a “bleep bleep white boy, you need to leave Kingston – we’ll murda ya.” That wouldn’t happen at a pro sports game in America.
Be aware of racism in soccer / football
Racism in a Pro Stadium should not happen but it does.
The bottom line is that we need to all be aware of it.
Fans, Clubs & Leagues need to be punished more!
There are times where FIFA will not allow fans in the stadiums for several games but Clubs & Federations need to get more active.
How to keep Gratitude alive year-round
I encourage you to truly reflect on the blessings you have.
Even with the challenges we face in America & worldwide, we have come so far!
By making one choice at a time to influence others positively.
Based on what we have in common & not what we don’t understand, we have even more to carry forward into the year.
3 ways to keep an attitude of Gratitude
- Promoting Family Unity [which influences our ‘tribe’ – our community, soccer team / club & others]
- Having Grace for the Day [& grace for others]
- Choosing to have an Attitude of Gratitude.
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