Liverpool Balls: Balotelli Is Only A Racist If You Think He Is
Liverpool Balls: Mario Balotelli is attracting attention for posting a message online that contained a racist trope. Balotelli says he will fight any FA ban.
Oliver Kay writes:
Football has endured a succession of depressing race-related controversies over the past few years — John Terry, Luis Suárez and, more recently, Malky Mackay and Dave Whelan — but Balotelli’s latest indiscretion would appear to belong in a different category.
Whatever his flaws, Balotelli, the poster boy for multicultural 21stcentury Italy, born to Ghanaian immigrants in Sicily, brought up by a Jewish family in Lombardy, subjected to appalling racist abuse in his homeland, did not seem an obvious candidate for the sport’s latest race storm.
The problem with Balotelli, according to many who have worked with him, is that he gets bored very easily and, to be polite about this, lacks qualities of discernment. That is why on Monday evening, at a loose end, he re-posted a mocked-up picture of Super Mario, the computer game character, along with the words “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew” …
The FA — not before time — has sought to send out the message that such phraseology and such stereotyping is not acceptable in English football. It is a policy that Balotelli, who felt so let down by the football authorities in Italy, would probably applaud if he took a moment to think about. Unfortunately, he rarely thinks until it is too late.
The chairman of Kick It Out, Lord Ouseley:
“Quite frankly, I think the FA has got to show consistency in everything it does and I don’t see how it can avoid charging him. Whether it then takes other factors into consideration is a matter for its panels, such as all the implications of what its intentions might have been.”:
Telegraph Football Correspondent Henry Winter says:
“The fine won’t really trouble a player of Mario Balotelli’s wealth but the ban will.”
Oh, Mario. Why always … well, you know the rest. In the cold light of day there was something oddly unsurprising about the news Mario Balotelli had stumbled his way into not one race storm, but two race storms for the price of one misguided Instagram message. Let’s face it, if you had to pick out a black, Jew-friendly footballer capable of offending at a single stroke black people and Jews there is only one real candidate for the role.
Similarly, how many professional footballers could manage to publish what is in isolation the most xenophobic thing any player has ever willingly communicated to the public; and yet still leave you convinced he’s clearly not a racist, has no ill intent, and really did think he was just sharing an excellent joke…
The problem is that those entering unforewarned at this stage simply see a famous Premier League player, staple of children’s football magazines, sending a message about blacks and Jews. Cue unintended consequences and a supra-Mario labyrinth of moral responsibility. Not to mention, rising above this with a weary sense of inevitability, yet another moment of managed idiocy in a sport that has always tolerated and indeed promoted the arrested development of its main protagonists.
If we’re punished for idiocy, we’re all doomed…