1. Racism in European v American Sports (Boz Sabetti, Massa Sugano, Karel Stokkermans, Dustin Christman) 2. Italy: Ultras And Political Ties (Nick Simoncini, Massa Sugano, "Riffster") 3. Germany, France, England, and the US (Gerrit Stolte, Steve Jones) 4. Racism in Brazil? ("Riffster", Irineu Carvalho, Manny Freitas) ======================================= 1. Racism in European v American Sports ======================================= From: Boz Sabeti
Subject: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 There is an incredible feature article in Tuesday's USA TODAY on the issue of racism towards the increasing number of black players in Europe's top-flight leagues. While Euro-centric publications like WORLD SOCCER have stayed clear of the issue, it's refreshing to see more and more black players finally speaking out. Until the last few years, the only player I have noticed that has taken a truly bold stand is Ruud Gullit. But as the USA TODAY piece states, "Black players in Europe, especially the newest wave of black Africans, speak about racism with reluctance. Some will not discuss the subject at all. Civil rights activism is all but unknown." The USA TODAY piece is written by Christopher Winner from the London bureau, and focuses primarily on Ajax Amsterdam players and the low-life "fans" in Italy's Serie A. Among the voices speaking out in the article: George Weah - "Sometimes a white player will walk up to you and say things slowly and easily...Black players must prove that they are better on the field." Jocelyn Angloma - "This is about mentality, and people knowing that blacks are human beings. FIFA isn't going to go about making that happen any more than you can try to change the imbeciles who send you bananas in the mail. You must educate people. Just don't ask me how." Kiki Musampa - "It's one thing if an opponent calls a fool or an idiot. But when he starts with 'dirty black, go home,' that's a different story." Patrick Kluivert - "It's a pity that people, adult people, can yell this sort of thing against younger people. You look at the crowd, and you see older people joining in. I look out at them, and I think to myself, 'How is this possible?'" Juventus "fans" last year in Turin had the racist card in hand when Manchester United's Andy Cole took the field. After reading the USA TODAY article, perhaps those observers of tomorrow's Juve-Ajax clash who initially intended to be neutral will be backing the Dutch side. ---------------------------------------- From: Massa Sugano Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 04:29:02 -0400 I vehemently oppose racism. But USA Today should worry about its own soil. This is a topic better examined by European newspapers which have a closer affinity to the local frames of mind. Shame on them that the European papers do not. However, I felt uneasy that the story came from a newspaper which hardly ever reports on soccer. It seems to me another effort to discredit the sport, taking advantage of some unintelligent delinquents. For example, I had never read about racism in golf clubs on USA Today until Tiger Woods came about. USA today should do some homework. The article contained one caption reading "George Weah, 1995 World Footballer of the Year" under a photo which was not of Weah but of a young Ajax player. It also misspelled Marcel Desaill"e"y. These might sound trivial but do show a certain disrespect on the part of USA Today for the sport. For me, the article read like a "feel-good" piece to make Americans feel that things are better on their side; which is utterly false. I am sure that the article is a nopble piece, but it would have been opportune if USA Today examined the more deeply entrenched racism on its own nation. A trivial point: (In Italy, I didn't feel any race barriers in relationships. Here instead, you see lots of Asian women going out with white men, but Asian men are hardly seen as sexual objects. It may explain why many of them are forced to become nerds. I'm lucky I'm not an Asian American, that's all I can say.) ================================================= From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Karel Stokkermans) Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: 23 Apr 1997 Luke writes: > FIFA and UEFA will never do anything about it. The most clear example is > the case of Weah when he played in a match against Porto in Champions' > League. Not only was he insulted and mocked, but he was even punished > for responding to an irresistible and outright provocation by a Porto > player. This determined his team's performance in the following match, > which resulted in Milan's elimination from Champions' League. Quite. How dare UEFA punish someone for breaking someone else's nose in connection with a football game. As for Costa's provocations, nothing was proven, and whatever horrible things can be said about UEFA (and there are a few), at least they consider someone innocent until proven guilty. Weah's punishment was, given his offense, rather lenient. And to claim that Weah's suspension was the reason for Milan's home loss against RBK is ridiculous. As for Boz's piece: How nice of a American paper to start berating the Europeans - do they have feature articles about racism in the NBA, NHL, NFL or professional golf from time to time as well? > >the only player I have noticed that has taken a truly bold stand is Ruud Gullit. What has been bold about any of his stands - do you refer to his dedicating his European Footballer of the year award to Mandela (a highly popular gesture at the time, at least in the Netherlands, not at all controversial) or do you have something else in mind? For a bold (and at the same time pathetic) stand, take Davids at the European championship... > >[...] focuses primarily on Ajax Amsterdam players and the low-life "fans" > >in Italy's Serie A. Interesting on how he decides to concentrate on the Italian scum rather than on the same problem in England - or doesn't it exist there? As for Italian "low-life fans", no doubt they exist, and no doubt there are many like them in other countries (and not just in Europe either). I wouldn't take this article as a guideline on: > > [...] perhaps those observers of tomorrow's Juve-Ajax clash who > > initially intended to be neutral will be backing the Dutch side. Why? Because Ajax has a few more black players than Juve? Surely supporting a club on those grounds alone *is* racist. Or because Ajax doesn't have any racist supporters? Doubtful, and it's not like Ajax fans have a spotless reputation in Europe (at least Juve have never been excluded from European competition because of actions of some of their "fans", unlike Ajax...). Mind you, I will be supporting Ajax tonight - on strictly nationalistic grounds ;-). --------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Dustin Christmann) Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: 23 Apr 1997 21:23:40 GMT NBA? Karel, you could have chosen a better league to rip than the NBA. They not only have the highest percentage of minorities playing of all the North American professional leagues, but in the coaching and office staffs as well. NHL: Good point. The number of non-white players in the NHL could probably counted on one hand. This is slowly changing, however. (The key word here is "slowly.") However, the Dallas Morning News did do an article on the first-ever black player in the NHL (who played in the 60s) and focused on how things have not changed in hockey. NFL: There has been an outcry in the media that out of all the coaching changes that were made in the NFL offseason, not one new head coach is black. Golf: Perhaps you've missed the media hype surrounding Tiger Woods' ascent to the golf stardom. Certainly, the fact that he is not a white man in a traditionally white man's sport has a lot to do with it. And certainly one Fuzzy Zoeller has felt the heat from the media over comments that he made about Woods after The Masters golf tournament. But the bottom line is that out of all the countless sporting events I have attended in North America in the last 15 years that I have been a sports fan, I have never -- NEVER -- personally heard racist epithets shouted from the crowds. Yes, you do read the occasional story in the newspaper about some idiot or another shouting racist abuse and yes, I have no doubt sat next to a racist at such a sporting event without knowing it. Racism in the stands has rightfully become a taboo in North America in the 1990s and the all-too-common bigotry heard on too many terraces around the world has become unheard of here. No "monkey" taunts, no "black bastard" epithets or any of the hateful things that Jackie Robinson, the black man who broke baseball's color line 50 years ago, would recognize. Rather, the fight against racism in sports in America has turned from the overt kind found on the playing fields to the more covert brand found in the boardrooms and front offices. In other words, I believe that for once, American sports DOES have something to say to Europe. ==================================== 2. Italy: Ultras And Political Ties ==================================== From: Massa Sugano Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 Nick Simoncini wrote: > > Inter and Juventus neither have anything to say on this matter because > they both are famous for being right-wing teams. So I wouldn't be > surprised if the ultra' leaders were able to influence the board into > buying, or NOT buying certain players. > > It would be interesting to look at some Italian clubs with well-known > political leanings amongst supporters and figure out who buys what > colour players. > > Right Left > -------- ------- > Inter Bologna > Juventus Parma > Lazio Milan > Verona Torino > Brescia Fiorentina > Atalanta Roma > Padova Sampdoria That's a pretty accurate picture, Nick. But the ultras these days have less and less leverage over their clubs, and most presidents don't care less. In fact, some of the traditional allegiances have shifted these days. Milan's newer fan base is decidedly right-wing due to Berlusconi, while Inter has started to attract more left-wing fans. Paolo Rossi (the comedian)--and probably Riffster--are typical examples of the left-wing interista. This regards fans in general, not the ultras. Juve has always supported support throughout Italy regardless of political allegiances. Walter Veltrone and me are some good examples of the more leftish supporters of la madamma. Marcello Lippi is also a man of the center-left. Lazio has always been the "rich" teama and Roma the "popular" one. Zeman sort of started to catch new fans from the poorer regions, but since then he's been fired. As you listed, Parma-Bologna-Fiorentina etc. have leftish fans for obvious geographic reasons. ------------------------------------- From: Nick@Skynet.Be (Nick Simoncini) Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 21:13:19 GMT Massa Sugano wrote: >But the ultras these days have less and less leverage over their clubs, >and most presidents don't care less. That's true, the last time I saw this happen was the trouble a Padova player got when he played in Livorno with the U-21's and unveiled a Livorno Ultra' shirt with Che on it after he scored a goal. He got booed, and banners demanding his sale were put up the next time Padova played at home. Luciano De Paola was another case. He was purchased by Lazio during the summer and sold in November because he had made it clear that he was very much involved in Rifondazione Communista. The ultra' didn't like that one bit, and he was gone. Those are extreme cases and very rare though. In general they don't have much to say, unless of course you ommit what Milan supporters have been doing lately. >In fact, some of the traditional allegiances have shifted these days. [...] Good point, but as you say, this hasn't changed the hard-cores though. >Juve has always supported support throughout Italy regardless of >political allegiances. Juve's ultra' remain hard right though. >Lazio has always been the "rich" teama and Roma the "popular" one. As you say yourself there are some excepetions, I have a laziale friend who is decidedly PDS, yet Roma got into deep shit two seasons ago when members of "Movimento Politico" (violent nazis) started trouble in Brescia and a couple of cops got stabbed. ---------------------------------------- From: Riffster Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 Massa Sugano wrote: > [snip] Very accurate description but I truly believe the management under Moratti has taken great steps towards disassociating themselves from bastard ultra clans who adore fascism and defame the name of Inter with their idiotic brayings. And yes, Bologna and the Emilia region are extremely to the left -- largely because of the high student populations and the large influence of unions. I remember sitting in a tabaccheria in the Bologna train station and listening to a Bolognese student ask me why I, as a "liberal" American, would not assassinate Nixon (this was 1971). I really had no answer for that one other than the political process in the USA (and Italy for that matter) should remain in the realm of civility at that present time. Besides my killing Nixon would have meant Agnew as president and my spending the rest of my life in jail (if I was still alive)! But I would really hope that regardless of being left or being right, that equal rights be assumed for those who happen to have a certain amount more of melanin in their skin. We all have the right to believe as we want, but we do NOT have the right to infringe upon other's ability to do so. ================================================= 3. Racism in Germany, France, England, and the US ================================================= From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerrit Stolte) Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 On 23 Apr 1997 23:41:23 -0700, tufgong98 aka luddy wrote: >It is funny how most of the people responding are ripping USA TODAY and >avoiding the REAL ISSUE!! I think what the article was trying to point >out is a fact that is clearly evident even on the RSS. No one wants >to confront the issue of racism. Most recently Roberto Carlos had run-ins >with racists fans in Madrid. I think for me what is real remarkable is the >fact that none of the clubs, fifa, uefa, national associations and above >all the NATIVE PLAYERS are not speaking out against these incidents. As >an AMERICAN who happens to be a soccer fanatic I can say that WE have >clearly progressed in our attitudes, but Europe clearly has not, and >therefore USA TODAY can do as many articles om racism in European soccer >if only to point out that such lunacy is no longer a part of American sports. Well, are you implying that racism isn't a part of the American society anymore? That it doesn't happen in sports anymore (remember the Tiger Woods commercial - there IS still racism in American sports), doesn't mean that Americans have progressed in their attitudes. Racism is a sad fact of society in general, and it happens in most European countries and European leagues (don't know if it happens in France, though), but it is simply not true that no native players speak out against it. We had a lot of racism in German stadiums at the beginning of the nineties, with "supporters" throwing bananas at black players and making ape-like noises and gestures. However, a huge effort has been made by the clubs, fans and players together to stop this, including a nation-wide campaign called "Mein Freund ist Auslaender"/"My friend is a foreigner". There are clubs like Dortmund, St. Pauli and Freiburg, to name but three, where you will hear no racist remarks. In fact, after German "supporters" behaved disgracefully in a friendly match in Poland some months ago, supporters of Dortmund openly appologized for this, when the Polish champions visited for the next Champions League match one week later. Another point: a lot of players in the MLS are descendents of immigrants or even foreigners who still have roots to their parent's or their own homecountry, the majority of the spectators are immigrants or first-generation Americans, so racism is simply beyond consideration for the most part. And a last point. That alledgedly no racism happens in American sports is simply a based on the fact that, without black players, American teams wouldn't be that special anymore. NBA, MLB, NFL, is there a team that can play and win without african-american players? Or just check out the Olympic records of the last fifty years. Without african-american athletes, the US would have scored less then half of their medals. That hasn't prevented white American ignorants to look down on their African-American neighbors. Even Olympic champions have been harrassed. True, things have improved, but the process was more or less started by the success of African-American athletes, NOT because white Americans have learned that much. And this will lead to less racism in European stadiums over the next years, simply because most teams can't compete and win without foreign players. It has happened in Frankfurt and most prominently in Rostock - a club with almost exclusive right-wing supporters. They signed Jonathan Akpoborie two years ago, and since then racisms is on the decline, not only in stadium, but in Rostock in general. ---------------------------------------------------- From: Steve Jones - JON Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: 28 Apr 1997 Gerrit Stolte writes: > Racism is a sad fact of society in general, and it happens > in most European countries and European leagues (don't know if it > happens in France, though), > >[snip the rest of a well written article] It is probably worse in France than elsewhere, it is certainly worse in France than in England. Wander on down to watch PSG and you will see Front Nationale thugs chanting from the stands. And the authorities reaction ? Nothing. Its bloody pathetic. I know a fair number of French people who will not go to watch football because of this thug mentality and the abuse of the players. I like to think that things are better in England than they were, this is in the main certainly true, the days of Cyril Regis being subjected to bananas and monkey chants have in the main gone. And certainly racism is not seen as being acceptable. But there are still people out there who are stupid enough to vote for the BNP, it's far from the perfect ideal of race not even being an issue either way (except in the 100m at the Olympics). The English clubs certainly are facing up to the problem, if not fully, with more than just a token involvement. But with the UEFA president making racist remarks and the lack of condemnation from the Italian and French FAs over the treatment and abuse heaped upon black players there is still much to do. Its the same as with the hooligan element on the continent, it is better to point the fingers at others than admit there is a problem with your country. --------------------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Gerrit Stolte) Subject: Re: 'Racism in European Soccer' Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 Steve Jones wrote: >It is probably worse in France than elsewhere, [...] Really? Those are digusting news to me. I always thought, with the huge tradition of coloured players in the French league and national team, nothing of that sort should happen. I still think that France wouldn't have won the EC 84 competition without the great Tigana. >I know a fair number of French people who will not go to watch football >because of this thug mentality and the abuse of the players. Which is certainly the only possible reaction. No pressure has been applied on the club officals? I'm wondering how colored people are willing to play for PSG then. Of course, it wouldn't stop the racists if PSG would lose, because the coloured people refuse to play, but it would create a certain amount of pressure on the club, to kick the thugs out. >[...]it's far from the perfect ideal of race not even being an issue >either way (except in the 100m at the Olympics). Well said, couldn't agree more. I've experienced the irony of this some years ago in Frankfurt. When my team - Eintracht Frankfurt - played Saarbruecken in the relegation contest, Tony Yehoah was harassed for 90 minutes by 40.000 people - mea culpa, I also participated. The next season Yeboah signed a contract with Frankfurt and in less then two years became a people's hero, eventually becoming team captain. > The English clubs certainly are facing up to the >problem, if not fully, with more than just a token involvement. Maybe, I'm wrong on this but wasn't Andy Cole harrassed when he played for Newcastle? I'm just curious, because this would serve as anti-thesis to my remark that the success will silence the racists. At least I remember a huge outcry of protest by people concerned about the behaviour of Newcastle's fans. >But with the UEFA president making racist remarks and the lack of >condemnation from the Italian and French FAs over the treatment and >abuse heaped upon black players there is still much to do. I think the only possible solution - even if it would involve certain infringements on our civil rigts - would be to use the anti-hooliganism tactics of video surveillance. At least some of those proplr should have an interest in the game as such and you could probably influence their behaviour on the stands, if you threaten to ban them from the stadium. It wouldn't alter their racial prejudices, but it would make the game much more acceptable for players and fans alike. And that would be good in itself. >Its the same as with the hooligan element on the continent, it is >better to point the fingers at others than admit there is a problem >with your country. Especially when you cosider that Hooliganism is far worse now in most European countries than it is in England. ==================== 4. Racism in Brazil? ==================== From: Riffster Subject: Re: Racism in Football Date: Dec 14, 1996 Manny Freitas wrote: >Do you really think there is racial descrimination in Brasil's soccer? I >know that there is plenty in Brasilian society, but in Brasilian soccer, >I don't think so. Right there is an example of a "broken mirror". You have no idea what country I come from or have been, so keep that senseless comment to yourself. I know that there is racism in Brasilian soccer, I have heard of it from my relatives in Sao Paulo. I have also read about incidents in the stands that involve racial taunts. You are deluding yourself to think that the powers that be in Brasil really believe in racial equality. For every Pele that has a honorable position there are a hundred, even a thousand other blacks and mixed who are denied even a glance. There is a culture of hero worship in Brasil that transcends skin color, but if you think Romario would even get the time of day if he wasn't a goaleador, YOUR mirror is broken. ---------------------------------------------------- From: Irineu Carvalho Subject: Re: Racism in Football Date: Dec 15, 1996 I have never heard about it. Actually there were some clubs in the beginning of the century that did not allow Black players: Fluminense, Gremio and others but that is long gone past. All Brazilian teams have had Black players, coaches and other professionals. At anywhere northern to Sao Paulo in Brazil, Romario is considered white. Concepts like racism in Brazil are very hard to qualify because in Brazil pure blacks or pure whites are the minority, while most of the population is someplace in between. It is much easier to find in Brazil another kind of prejudice, the social prejudice against poor people that is in my opinion even worse than racism because it is more difficult to be fought against. ------------------------------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Manny Freitas) Subject: Re: Racism in Football Date: Dec 16, 1996 No, I'm not deluding myself. When I said that there wasn't racism in Brasilian soccer, I was refering to the relationships between the actual players on the field. "The powers that be" is a different story. Also, for every Pele, there are also hundreds, even thousands of whites who also are denied even a glance. Or are you trying to tell me that all prospective white players make it to the big leagues? Or even that there are no whites living in the favelas? Unfortunatelly, inequality in Brasil goes way beyond just racial. ======================================== From: Irineu Carvalho Subject: Re: Racism in Football Date: Dec 21, 1996 email@example.com (tejinder sidhu) wrote: >Similarly, the fact that some very talented non-white football players >achieve success does not mean that racism does not exist amongst the power >elite of football, Racism in the "power elite of football"? Are you joking? I cannot imagine a coach in Brazil picking a player because he is white. That is beyond my imagination. And it is even more likely that things go the other way around. ------------------------------------------------- From: Riffster Subject: Re: Racism in Football Date: Dec 27, 1996 Irineu -- maybe I contributed to this thread going awry. I hope not. I hope people outside of Brasil understand what you are trying to say. Brasil is not the USA or England or Italy. The problems in Brasil are great but racism is not one of the bigger ones (at least in soccer). Racism IS a problem in Brasil but at the higher levels of business and government. I would say the only place where racism appears in soccer is at the upper management level of owners and club presidents. While there are now non-whites in these positions, there is still a very white European feel to the upper office holders. The problems in Brasil have to do with crime based on extreme poverty. This poverty is immense and makes even the horrid conditions of the Bronx in NYC, the South or West Sides in Chicago and South Central and Watts in LA seem almost palatial. We are talking unbelievable inhumane conditions. Only the poorest places in Asia and Africa can compare. It is a disaster. Most of the poor in Brasil are of mixed race. I would not call them black as such. Most are not different in appearance (facial that is, not clothing or cleanliness) from middle class types in Brasil. The difference is MONEY. Race remains a huge problem in the US and still is a problem in US sports. It is much, much less of a problem in Brasil in general and in soccer in particular.