On a day to day basis, the majority of people are law abiding, working, tax paying human beings. Put these same people inside a football stadium with 40,000 other people, and what would usually seem totally unacceptable, suddenly becomes the norm.
Take swearing for example. Words such as F**k and C**t are seen as unacceptable in everyday use. No-one in their right mind would call their boss a wanker. Yet it is acceptable to tell the referee he is? The opposition defender makes a late challenge – all of a sudden he is a ‘f***ing c***’, whether it was intentional or not, the rage overcomes us.
Many Tottenham Hotspur fans chant ‘Yid Army’, the majority which are not Jewish, not even understanding that calling someone a ‘Yid’ is as disrespectful as calling a black person a ‘nigger’ – would anyone dare watch a Ghana match and chant ‘Nigger Army’? Of course not, because nothing about that chant is acceptable, it is racist. Just as the chant ‘Yid Army’ is anti-Semitic.
There is no place in football for these vile terms to be used. Why is ‘Yid Army’ used? I have spoken to many Spurs fans about this chant, and the majority do not even realise what it means, or where it originates. The name was first given to the supporters as an insult, due to the large Jewish following at the club.
Brighton, in Southern England, is known for being a gay friendly area. Do football fans forget this? Of course not! Many chants towards Brighton fans are homophobic, including ‘does your boyfriend know you’re here’. Banter, or homophobia? Maybe banter to some, but then let’s fast forward to after the match, the homophobic insults thrown from Barnsley supporters to the home fans, which culminated in arrests for the Northerners.
It is not only the fans. Luis Suarez was banned for 8 matches after calling Patrice Evra ‘Negrito’ on countless occasions, but stood by the fact that it was not offensive in Uruguay. John Terry was also tried by a court of law, after it was alleged that he called QPR’s Anton Ferdinand a ‘Black C***’, but he was found not guilty in a police trial.
So what makes us think that is it ok to be racist….or homophobic….or anti semitic? Are they our real thoughts? Are the people that use these words found guilty in every day life of using them? Or do people act as sheep when surrounded by 40,000 other people ( mainly men!), and go by ‘If they do it, then I can do it’?
It is not acceptable, it never HAS been and it never WILL be. As fans of football, regardless of your team, it is our duty to report any sort of abuse to the club, so the perpetrators can be banned for life. They are not football fans, not if they would turn against a player for their team merely because of his skin colour, religious background or sexual orientation.
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