Would a black players’ union work?
A black player’s union being formed to combat racism in football; not something you would expect to see in 2012, when we should have moved on from such barbaric and ignorant views held by a supposed minority.
The topic of racism has been splashed all over the news with Terry/ Ferdinand row dragging on for the past year; whilst repercussions from the Suarez/Evra case also dragged on, with trivial talks of handshakes and T-shirts dominating the news.
So when assessing whether a black union would undermine the work by the Kick It Out campaign, one must judge what strides the campaign has taken to eradicate racism from the game.
The PFA, who are responsible for the campaign, released a six point action plan to tackle racism which screamed of desperation in trying to get black players back on the organisation’s side.
Former Wolves striker, Noel Blake admitted he would be keen to join a black players’ union as he feels there is a lack of empathy among those dishing out punishments for racist behaviour.
This is a sound argument, as how would someone know the true effects of racist abuse without being a victim themselves?
It seems that not being in charge of their destiny is causing the likes of Blake and current players like the Ferdinand brothers to shun the campaign.
But this serious issue has been dumbed down to such a degree that we are left wondering who would wear the kick it out T-shirts during the campaign’s week in action- a chance to for the campaign to promote activities encouraging greater multi-cultural awareness and review the progress made so far.
Rio Ferdinand’s decision involving initially deciding against wearing the T-shirt provoked a backlash from Sir Alex Ferguson, who many believed at the time showed a lack of sensitivity in the issue.
Rio along with his brother Anton, made reference in a statement that they felt let down by the PFA and FA’s lack of action to combat racism in the past year, thereby giving a degree of credence to not wearing the shirts as a form of protest.
Reading striker, Jason Roberts also refused to wear the shirt, despite being on the PFA’s decision committee.
But how can racism be tackled if divisions are being created? Surely a united front needs to be presented in order to challenge racist behaviour head on?
If there is a formation of a black players union, then how would those of mixed race or Asian backgrounds who have suffered racial abuse feel?
It could lead to an undesirable scenario where each minority feels the need to form their own union- something which the true racists would love to see.
This is discrimination its own right and in my opinion, the game’s governing bodies simply need sit down and address the concerns of those players who feel let down by a perceived lack of action in tackling the problem.
A message needs to be conveyed that we’re all in this together; something which the FA and PFA have clearly failed to do in recent months.
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