Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Stinging Criticisms by Eto'o

This goes up with some of the sadder things I've seen regarding football.
To think we live in a day and age where racism's talons still cause people strife and agony bewilders.

One of the more talented footballers of the modern era, Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o said he does not take his children to football matches because of racist attitudes in the stadiums. Think about this: one of the most talented strikers in the world, playing for one of the best teams in history, doesn't allow his kids to watch him play live. That's beyond comprehension.

"It is something that has affected me personally," Eto'o told sports newspaper Marca.

"I think players, leaders, and the media should join forces to stop this.

"In the stands you hear things that are difficult to explain to a child. It is better they are not exposed to this."

Eto'o continued: "No-one should feel looked-down upon because of the color of their skin, so at this moment in time I prefer my children don't go to football matches."

Last season Eto'o threatened to walk off the pitch after being racially abused by fans in a match at Real Zaragoza's stadium (pictured below, right). Zaragoza were fined an insignificant amount of money after the incident by the Spanish Football Federation.

A number of other La Liga clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Malaga, Racing Santander and Getafe, have been fined over the last two years after fans directed racist abuse at visiting players.

The Spanish government has committed itself to taking a hard line on racism in football, after a rise in the number of incidents of abuse directed at players in recent seasons.

I love La Liga as much as anyone else. Read my blog long enough or know me personally and you'll know my love of Valencia, the city and the club.

But this strikes at the heart and has to do with so much more than the love of the game, the club or the culture. This is, plain and simple, wrong.

The man can't share his joy, his talents with his family. They have to stay away because fascist factions taunt and intimidate, throwing bananas on the field or bellowing monkey noises at him and other players of color.

No one should have to go through this. It's one of the sadder parts of the game, up there with stadium violence.

England's successfully curbed this attitude (to a degree) in their stadiums. But what to do in mainland Europe?

Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

OmegaSupremeho: It's not a Spanish issue, these idiots infect every club more or less.

If an incident as bad as the Zaragoza game occurs again I'd like to see Puyol pick up the ball and walk off. You'll never change the mind of a grown man who wants to stand in a stadium and make monkey sounds but I feel it's not a fair game when one or more of the players cannot play due to the level of abuse.

djshoghi said...

Being a Barca fan the following comment is hard to make but this statement by Eto'o might be the reason why he leaves in the summer. People will say it's because he is jealous of 'dinho and Messi or what have you, but if you feel like you can't bring your children to the matches to watch you play then you can't imagine that he would want to stay.

It's sad because with Eto'o Barca is probably the best team on the planet and this squad (if kept together) might be one of the best ever. It's amazing to see how the legacy of Franco and the Church still affects modern society. Should we be surprised however? Spain and its people had to endure fascism for much longer than Germans did so perhaps these racial incidents in Spain are the death throes of an old society trying to keep its place in the mainstream. It's our job to make sure they will never win a place back at that table .

I wrote about this topic a while back on my blog culturess you are all welcome to read and let me know what you think.