Maignan opens the lid to racism in football
AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan is the latest black footballer to suffer racial abuse during a match when I Rossoneri visited Juventus at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Mike Maignan releases a strong statement after being racially abused. https://t.co/Eg73F0splG
– JuveFC (@juvefcdotcom) September 22, 2021
Instead of trying to do his words justice, you might be better off hearing it from the man himself;
“On Sunday night, at the Allianz Stadium, some Juventus fans threw insults and racist chants around me. What do you want me to say? You want me to say that racism is bad and that these fans are stupid? It’s not about that.
I am not the first and I will not be the last player to experience that. As long as we consider what happened as “isolated incidents”, history will repeat itself over and over again.
What do we do to combat racism in the football stadium? Do we really believe that it is effective? I am in a Club that strives to be a leader in the fight against all types of discrimination. But we have to do more and all of us united in this battle against a social problem bigger than football itself.
Do decision makers know what it feels like to hear insults that portray us as animals? You know what it does to our family, to our relatives who just can’t understand why these things keep happening in 2021?
I am not a “victim” of racism. I’m Mike, standing black and proud. As long as we are able to speak out and make a difference, we will. ” [quotes via Juvefc.com]
The hard truth about racism and discrimination
Racism and discrimination of any kind, against any group, is very easy to understand; it is rooted in ignorance. Lack of will to understand. The willingness to make assumptions and believe nothing but rumors or stereotypical beliefs about a particular race, creed, or any group without doing your due diligence to educate yourself.
As a black man who has experienced racist abuse in many areas of life, whether in school, in soccer, in my career, or in various social situations, the prevailing understanding on the receiving end is that those who will abuse easily deny the very existence of racism, or suppose it is easy to leave behind. It is not.
While Mike Maignan is correct in his view that it is vital that people confront it while still being proud of their respective heritages, the reality is a hard pill to swallow; that will probably never change.
Racist rhetoric and feelings of prejudice and discrimination are rooted in hundreds of years of ideologies that have never been adequately addressed. Institutions that continue to label incidents as isolated, as Maignan mentions, only serve to perpetrate problems.
The abuse suffered by the English trio Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho is just one example. Hungarian fans vocally attack Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham is another one.
Then there is Glen Kamara, who was abused by Ondrej Kudela on the pitch, or the countless examples from previous years cited by Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Sully Muntari and others.
While things can change … and must change … it is difficult to see when, how and where change will originate. Until known, these incidents are likely to continue until football federations are concerned enough to crack down in the harshest possible way.