Racism In Sports
Nowhere is safe when we talk about racism, especially not in sports. For some bizarre reason, people who are inspiring millions and billions by their actions on the field, court, track or any other venue of performance get much more slurs in their address compared to any other greats in any other field who could get such despicable treatment.
Perhaps such predisposition can be explained by the fact that racist people feel like they can badmouth athletes on the basis that they became famous thanks to their physical talents, something that was given to them by God? Racism springs from ignorance. People don’t even understand how much work goes into being a pro athlete and how much sacrifice these people are making for our entertainment. Not one intelligent person would fall to that low level to undermine someone’s mental condition, but thankfully this form of bullying is seen less and less with years. Would it be possible to eradicate that sickness altogether and leave such shocking occurrences in the past? Nobody can say for certain, but biggest sports organizations are moving in the right direction by severely punishing the individuals who in some way, shape or form try to provoke fans or athletes with that dirty move.
We’ve come a long way since the days where some sports were excluding black people from participating in events. We all recognize and understand that sport is for everyone now, but it wasn’t always like that, sadly. Through struggles and protests, oppressed sides fought their way to recognition and respect they get today. It would be extremely tough to imagine the landscape of athletics if some of us were restricted from doing what we love. Los Angeles Lakers legend and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabaar once said this: “All the courage and competitiveness of Jackie Robinson affects me to this day, If I patterned my life after anyone it was him, not because he was the first black baseball player in the majors but because he was a hero.” By fighting through adversity athletes of the past inspired other phenomenal sportsmen, thus helping propel the games into the stratosphere.
Sport is popular, it is relatable, it attracts and unites people from all walks of life. Supporters of one team can become family members and the spectators who watch their favorites in action are nothing short of a community. It is a beautiful phenomenon that can make you forget about issues in your life for a while, even if it’s a couple of hours. It is an outlet for hidden anger and activity that makes us stronger both physically and mentally. People who don’t like sports usually hate the things associated with it, rather than the rules or specifics of any particular discipline. Sport is all about emotions, both positive and negative. It generates a lot of strong feelings! We can relate to sports because we had a chance to try them ourselves and have an appreciation when we see someone do them perfectly, that is one of the biggest reasons why the planet is obsessed with the most popular games ever known to humankind.
A lot of intelligent people gave their take on the matter. Sir Charles Barkley thinks racism is “here” and will always exist, but we can’t use it as a crutch. Ex-French national team football player Lilian Thuram would agree with that statement. He repeatedly said that matches should be stopped if banana peels are thrown at people who try their best and pour sweat, blood, and tears to be where they are. There are different views on how to tackle racism out of the beautiful games, but one thing is for certain: “Sport has the power to change the world, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Those words belong to a person who changed the world himself – Nelson Mandela.
- Balotelli, M. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/manchester-city-star-mario-balotelli-158082
- Pine, J. T. (2011). Book of African-American quotations. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
- Mandela, M. (2011). Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorized Book of Quotations, p.378, Pan Macmillan