Anorak | John Barnes says racism in football is a thought cime

John Barnes says racism in football is a thought cime

by | 28th, February 2012

JOHN Barnes wants to talk about racism in football to Daily Mail readers. Racism in football is so rare that a man in the crowd making a monkey noise can be arrested, and a player racially abusing an opponent leads to a ban that occupies the national news (see Liverpool’s Luis Suarez). Even the accusation of racial abuse can lead to a court case and a relatively successful England manager quitting before a big tournament (as with Chelsea’s John Terry).

Says Barnes:

When Stuart Pearce selects his England team to face Holland on Wednesday, it will reflect modern society.

Indeed, football reflects society. It does not, as David Cameron would have use believe , feature the white working leases leading society into race riots if the elite do not inflict control.

There will be a number of black players starting the game for their country, maybe six or seven, but so what? To me it no longer carries any significance.

So. Why mention it, then? Why count the number of black players? Do football fans notice the black faces anymore? Hasn’t hard work and the players’ skill smashed the colour bar?

I will not turn on the television and start counting the number of black faces in the team – we have moved beyond that to investigate deeper issues.

Only, John, you just counted them. Six or seven.

Ashley Cole, Micah Richards, Chris Smalling, Glen Johnson, Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge, Fraizer Campbell and Danny Welbeck represent the black community, but to most people they are Saturday’s Heroes.

And now, John, you’ve named them. You’ve picked out the black faces. Why?

Right-minded supporters watch them play in the Barclays Premier League week in, week out and do not discriminate when they represent their club team.


Those barriers were broken down a long time ago and it is common for Premier League teams to field more black players than white, but does anyone notice? Probably not.

Well, you seem to notice, John. Maybe you’re not over it? Maybe you cannot yet see beyond colour?

To see Walcott or Richards walk out in an England shirt is not a cause to rejoice or celebrate because they are black — the fact it mirrors the modern game and our culture is far more eye-catching.

But their blackness or mix-raced make-up is what caught your eye, John.

John Barnes then goes on to talk about society at large:

Britain is culturally diverse, full of different nationalities and backgrounds being brought up in different circumstances. That is the real benefit of this England team, watching a cross-section of different communities and backgrounds uniting for one reason: they want to win a football match.

How does cultural diversity create a better England football team? England won the World Cup in 1966. The team was all white. Although there was a Cohen, and that’s a Jewish name. But football is a game with rules. A player’s cultural make-up makes not a jot of difference to how the game is played.

That is something England can be proud of, watching a cosmopolitan team take on a side who reached the 2010 World Cup final.

So. If Stuart Pearce or whoever is England manager does not pick a black face to play for England the country should be ashamed? Doesn’t a manager just pick his best XI? Is

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Posted: 28th, February 2012 | In: Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink