I reckon most of you guys may not understand this ‘jargon’. Am just as passionate about sport as I can be. When one grows up in a developing country like I have, in most of our neighborhoods, we kick whatever moves with the hope to derive pleasure from it. We put together polythene bags sew them into one large round ball and kick it around while shouting at the top of our voices in what doubles up as rallying together team members while disorganizing the opponent. Even when our backgrounds are as far apart as the heavens are from the earth, sport makes us one. Sport cast us from our misery. It provided an escape from ‘me’ into ‘us’.
Either way, sports has been around much longer than racism. The only difference has been the diversification of sporting activities. It is therefore absurd to say the least, for an individual to throw a banana at another in the belief that through that, he justifies himself as a superior race. This is against the spirit of sport. It serves as a distraction from the real objective of sporting. A way for the ignorant few who fail to understand the entire essence of competition. The reason behind having professional sports personalities across all continents showcasing their talent and representing both country and themselves with the intention of earning a living and above all providing entertainment for the wider family of the sports fans.
The West no doubt has provided much more opportunities for personalities intending to go professional in the sporting industry. New sporting talents are therefore bound to seek to develop their trade in the confines of the posh stadiums and superior training facilities best provided by the developed nations which also double up as powerhouses in professional sports. Whether Basketball, Soccer or Rugby the West provides the ideal conditions for the nurturing and development of these talents.
It therefore is quite disheartening to hear of sentiment s from personalities such as Donald Sterling; the wealthy owner of :LA Clippers, a basket balling giant in USA, expressing his backward racist opinions to betray his intolerance to African American people in events organized by his club! So is the decision by a Villareal Football Club fan to throw a banana to Dani Alves, a professional player with Barcelona Football Club in the wake of their resounding victory over them in the Spanish La Liga tie last weekend. Of course he picked up the banana and ate it Dani+alves+eats+banana&FORM=HDRSC2&id=3060C354170C791896FACC21C79A60FE7A42BE7A&selectedIndex=4#view=detail&id=3060C354170C791896FACC21C79A60FE7A42BE7A&selectedIndex=0. And in solidarity with him, other footballers did the same too. And so did me, a die-hard fanatic of the English, Spanish, German Italian and French Premier Leagues.
The buck stops with me and you. And in the spirit of unity as postulated by the late Nelson Mandela who saw sport as a way to stand together in competition and entertainment; devoid of historical prejudices, it is up to each and every one of us, both players and fans alike to kick out racism in our minds and midst.
Sport is about talent, hard work and consistent. About enjoyment and adrenaline. But never about Racism. Let us not make it about Racism.