Monday, 7 November 2011

IF YOU TOLERATE THIS...

Arsenal Fans Say No To Racism

Racism is a contentious issue, racism in football is not only contentious but for many a year it was accepted and indeed tolerated. At Chelsea before the reinvention of the Abramovitch era, racism was a major problem;people of colour chose not to attend games at Stamford bridge such was the overriding influence of right wing groups and endemic racist behaviour. At Highbury the isssue of racism was far less of a problem. The club and community had not attracted the same level of political extremism and hatred. With the strong influence of Irish players; a group that had been marginalised, and the presence of a number of black players in the eighties and onwards the atmosphere at Arsenal did not have the vitriol of that at The Bridge.
As The Arsenal have led the way in initiatives to drive racism out of the game they have been able to call upon the diversity of the community and from within the teams that have been assembled to challenge perceptions of acceptability.
Our club have just been commended for the way in which we have made inroads into the problem that has been in the game for too long, and I feel that The Emirates is not a stadium where any person of colour need feel fearful of attending.
Of course not everything in the garden is rosy but if an ethos is encouraged, acted upon  and built up then there is always a chance that things will change.
In International football racism is a more complex issue as it still thrives in certain countries. Fifa does very little to confront this problem and is sparing in it's punishment.
So when a club and country is led by a Captain who is embroiled in an allegation of racism it makes for depressing and worrying thoughts.
Clearly a small Blog like arsenalism is just about opinion, but I probably can't say that John Terry is a racist. I can't say it because despite being seen clearly using the words Black c*nt in the vicinity of Anton Ferdinand he is currently refuting the allegations. His lengthy list of poor behaviour (proven) should not make any of us draw assumptions though. Being guilty of anti social behaviour, misuse of position, driving offences, abusing Americans, disloyalty and other matters should not automatically lead us to believe that he is also a racist.
That's the party line, the avoiding legal action line that the press have followed. That's not reality though is it? Most football supporters realise what the truth of the matter is.
So this man leads club and country, this man carries on regardless. It's scandalous really. Scandalous but somehow it fits in with Chelsea's image; the image of a club that was rife with racism not so long ago in the stands, a club who aligned wealth with arrogance, a club that even Sep Blater, that most corrupt of characters, branded the enemy of football. I sort of expect Chelsea to tolerate this obnoxious character's behaviour. England and the FA on the other hand have lost that last shred of credibility they had by allowing Terry to represent this country.
When one looks at Bobby Moore or David Beckham; two men with unpretentious backgrounds who led their country, and compare them to Terry it is enough to make your stomach churn. 
Now I'm not saying any one set of fans are squeeky clean or that any one squad of players are perfect but we all need to look at The Arsenal, our club, and recognise that we are not a club that tolerates Racism, and that we are always active in dealing with it,we do not employ reprehensible characters like some other clubs and that we are, by and large, a good example of diversity.
There will, of course, be some that will bring up the issue of chanting at Sp*rs fans and yes, if this is genuinely offensive it needs to be eradicated, but that is a discussion for another time. Ours is not a club that have just singled out Anton Ferdinand for racist chants or sent him death threats. Let's remember that tolerance of Terry's behaviour can lead to that envelope that arrived carrying a threat of death to Anton Ferdinand; just for being a different colour.

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