Wednesday, April 4, 2007
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?