OUTSPOKEN: Davids demands zero tolerance against racism
FORMER HOLLAND international and current Barnet player-manager Edgar Davids pulls no punches in his recent football column, comparing racist people to sheep, and that they hold such views due to having no backbone and being ignorant.
Writing in the Mail Online, the 39-year-old says Uefa president Michel Platini should step down if he cannot properly get a handle on racism and punishing those found guilty of it. “He keeps making noises about racism but it’s not good enough if there are probably people there (boardroom) who don't take it seriously”, Davids writes.
“You have to stand up for the minority and if you don’t do that we don’t need you, so you have to step aside. Let somebody else do it because if not [it] is looking like a façade.
“You see all these FA, UEFA and FIFA committees but who is actually on them? I don’t see any black people there. Where are the black guys making decisions at that level of sport?” the ex-Juventus midfielder asks.
“How can you know what racism is like if you have never experienced it? It’s very difficult to imagine. Ex-football players like Lilian Thuram or Clarence Seedorf would be ideal. They are great ambassadors for football and for the black community”, he adds.
On the subject of Fifa, fines, and Sepp Blatter, Davids is also unapologetic, citing the implicit hypocrisy within the language used to discuss racism and the reprimands handed out. The player-manager points the finger at the Fifa president for missing an “opportunity when he said players should just shake hands at the end of the game.”
Clearly, shaking hands and moving on when there has been some form of racist abuse on the pitch does not cut it for the Dutchman. And neither does playing on when fans are hurling racial slurs down from the stands. Davids questions whether the recent racist incident involving Jozy Altidore during a Dutch Cup match when the player specifically asked the ref to carry on was the right course of action.
NO NONSENSE: Davids wants former black players in positions of power to affect change
“The move Jozy Altidore made by not stopping his match after racist abuse is a statement, while Kevin-Prince Boateng made a different statement when he led off his AC Milan team-mates. Here is the difference: What Altidore did was what I did 20 years ago. I stayed on the pitch. So, did we move back in time or has there been no progress?
“It depends on the setting, of course, but I’m not so keen about seeing teams walk off in protest, though I fully understand it. If they really feel that upset and they don’t want to play then fine. But, back in the day, you just played. You made the best of it and you showed your superiority by beating them”, David writes, offering a contrasting view to what Kevin Prince Boateng did.
Furthermore, Davids brings up his own experiences of suffering racism during his younger years. “I almost used to go out expecting to be racially abused when I was a young player. When it happens so often you begin to think it’s normal, which is the really sad part.”
The League Two manager, who is only one of three black managers in English football, reserves his most cutting remarks for those unaware of how their ignorance, projected through racism, affects others. “Racism often comes from ignorance; from fear of the unknown. Most racist people are like sheep. They are people without backbones. But if you learn about and adopt other cultures you grow as well.
“People expect football players to be role models, but it works both ways. We are not the lead example for someone else’s kids. Their dads and mums are.
“Yet I’ve seen a dad sitting on a bus making obscene gestures with his six-year-old son sitting beside him. What chance does that child have?”
In line with the theme of The Voice’s Enough Is Enough: Get Onside, Davids says: “It’s time to take drastic measures because enough is enough. Clubs have to be pushed or punished. Zero tolerance is the only way.”
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