Glen Johnson, Paul McGrath, Ron Atkinson, Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra star in a Racism Smack Down
GLEN Johnson, the Liverpool defender is talking to the Daily Mail where he is billed as “Liverpool’s only black first-team player“. That’s an odd thing to state, given that Liverpool is not a racist club, operating no colour bar to players nor fans.
It duly falls upon Johnson’s shoulders to be the spokesman for the entire black community (and where are those meetings held?).
Johnson was in the line up when unlovely Luis Suarez declined to shake the hand of Manchester United’s unlovely Patrice Evra.
“Evra was clever at Old Trafford,’ said Johnson, extending his hand directly towards me. ‘Because – I’m not being funny – but if I wanted to shake your hand I would stick it right out in front of me like that. But if my hand is down here, almost by my side, then it’s because I really don’t want to shake your hand.”
We are in the realms of etiquette. Perhaps Evra was standing too close. Perhaps Suarez was waiting for the fist bump? Perhaps Suarez has a thing about germs and was thinking along Olympian lines?
“Luis didn’t shake his hand because Evra’s hand was down there. What else is Luis supposed to do? Would you go to shake someone’s hand if their hand is way down there by their side? Course not. But then, because Luis didn’t do it, Evra has pulled him back by his arm as he walked on, as if to say to everybody: “Look, I wanted to shake his hand and he didn’t…”
Evra is a dickhead. Evra is the player who showed the imaginary yellow card to the referee and cried racism. He then celebrated like a complete pillock after United won the post-shake match. Debating which of Suarez or Evra is the least likeable and nobler is akin to debating which of Rebecca Loos and Victoria Beckham is the posher.
Undeterred, Johnson ploughs on:
‘He’s following Luis with his eyes as if to say: “Right he’s gone, he’s gone (past me) so I’ll pull him back now…”
Johnson is now guessing what Evra is thinking. There can be no winners her.
‘Evra probably stayed up all night thinking about how to do that. The whole thing was ridiculous.’
Anorak would have advised that Evra diffused the situation by offering a prosthetic hand. When Suarez shook he’d have taken it right off. Better, perhaps, had the hand been white. That would have been poignant. Suarez could have used a black hand. The exchange would have been memorable. As it was, Johnson says Evra stayed up all night working out how to do nothing.
The Mail presses on:
Liverpool’s only black first-team player, the England defender has been criticised by other black sportsmen for standing by Luis Suarez after the Uruguay forward was found by the FA to have made racist comments to Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a game last October.
You can only be offended by Suarez if you are black? And if you are black you are not allowed to suppsort Suarez? If you are black you have to behave a certain way?
Former United defender Paul McGrath took to Twitter on seeing Johnson join his team-mates in wearing T-shirts in support of Suarez as they warmed up before a game at Wigan. ‘If I was in Glen Johnson’s position, I would have thrown the shirt to the floor,’ said McGrath.
This is singing Paul McGrath who said of his time playing for Ron Atkinson at Manchester United (Atkinson lost his media berths when he called Chelsea defender Desailly a “fucking lazy thick nigger”):
“Well, Ron’s old school, I have to say that. But Jesus, he’s one of the furthest men away from being a racist. He might say the odd word that makes you think ‘Jesus, what’s happening here?’ He had this thing in training, where he’d say ‘it’s the coons against the rest’. But we’d just laugh about it. And the so-called coons had a good team – me, Yorkie [Dwight Yorke], Dalian Atkinson, Cyrille Regis – so we were delighted. Never once would any of us have taken exception.”
So. Racism defends on if you like the man who’s using the “old school” vernacular or not. Suarez said negrito. That was new word to us. Had he said coon and given Evra a hug would it have been better? That’s the thing with the modern take on racism post McPhearson Report, it all depends on if you have been offended. And if you think Liverpool’s Suarez is the enemy you might be more likely to call him a racist.
‘It’s only an issue because I am the only black lad in the club,’ he shrugged. ‘If it’s bad that the other lads supported Luis then that should be seen as just as bad as me supporting him. But people are on to me because I am black. The McGrath thing … that’s actually racist. Saying what he said is racist. He is only saying that to me because I was the only black lad wearing the T-shirt. He’s targeting me because of my colour.”
But, as Luis Sureaz taught us, you can’t be racist if you have a black grandfather. C’mon, Glen, try to keep up, lad…