Pick who we want to: murdering Islamists and right-on Westerners bring fear to football
Writing in the Sun, former England football captain Alan Shearer mentions the horror in Paris. He says he was in Paris only recently. It never crossed Shearer’s mind the city was dangerous as he ate dinner at a restaurant. He talks of the thought that all football fans will wonder about their safety at the match. All true.
But then he turns football into a moral force. He recalls the great France side that won the 1998 World Cup, and how its players from a range of backgrounds “brought French people…together”:
“It is even more important now that Euro 2016 does that again and show a united front in the face of those terrorists.”
That France team did not win because the players were black, white or brown. They won because they were the best team. In Shearer’s call for sport to have a public message, the public are cast as bovine, simple minds who know only what they are told.
It’s suggestive of the insecurity that allows the enemy inside the gates; the idea that if France drops or picks a Muslim, Jewish or black footballer there will be massacres and race riots.
The lack of trust in ourselves aligns us with the loons aiming to murder Western ideals and ways of life. The jihadi seeking reason in a death-cult will not be appeased by a quota of Muslim footballers in the France side, just as picking a team to a proscribed, compliant, morally pure, self-conscious agenda fails to show a nation in a positive, liberal, progressive and confident light. One side seeks to annihilate the West; the other to undermine it and bare its uncertain heart, a culture riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing.
If freedom counts for anything, it means freedom to choose; to say what we feel; to pick a football team based on hope not fear.
We’ll sing what we want to. We’ll pick who we want to.