Racism in Football and Cricket
Posted on June 8, 2021
There has been a lot going on with regards to racism recently. The latest being historic racist tweets by England cricketer, Ollie Robinson. Opinions are flying around with some making their views plain, whilst others keep their heads down, knowing what an emotive subject it is.
Carberry and Gower
The most controversial part of this latest scandal is whether someone should be accountable for what they said as a teenager. Former England captain, David Gower, says no. Former England batsman, Michael Carberry, says yes. Carberry thinks Robinson should get the book thrown at him and have his career terminated.
Of course, as someone who is white, it is easy to see David Gower’s
more conciliatory point of view. As someone who has no experience of being
black, it is not so easy to understand the thinking of a black man who has
suffered a lifetime of racial abuse. I thought Carberry’s unforgiving stance
towards Robinson too harsh. Then, on reflection, who am I to judge when I have
never been racially abused?
What we do know is that racism is not in the DNA. Babies don’t arrive on the planet with a natural hatred for other babies of a different race. It is fed into them by parents, peer groups or media outlets. Some people go through a period of embracing racism, whilst others evolve and see how utterly ridiculous it is to judge another human by their skin colour.
It may well be that Robinson went through a period of parental, peer, or media influence, that made him think racism was funny. There is every chance that he now feels that any feelings he had as a teenager are utterly ludicrous, and do not reflect the man he became. Should he not have the opportunity to prove that?
David Attenborough has a theory that goes like this.
If you put 100 black ants and 100 fire ants into a glass jar, nothing will happen. But if you shake the jar violently, the ants will start to kill each other. The black ants believe the fire ants are the enemy, the fire ants believe the opposite. The same is true of society: men versus women, black versus white, faith versus science, young versus old. The enemy is not our opposite, it’s the person who shook the jar.
Maybe Robinson should look back and see who shook his jar and explain how naïve he was to fall for it?
For the time being, he can take comfort in the fact that he has the backing of the Prime Minister. Then he might have to recalibrate his thoughts. There was a time when having the backing of the person holding the highest public position in the country, was a good thing.
However, our PM has said things that make Robinson’s comments look like a picnic. Imagine if an England cricketer had it on record as saying black people looked like piccaninnies with watermelon smiles and Muslims looked like letterboxes and bank robbers? There would be no need for a moral debate; he would be bang to rights.
Lord knows who shook Johnson’s jar? Stanley Johnson and Eton College would be my best bet. Having a cricketer who is having to come to terms with historical racist attitudes is a problematic and delicate issue for the ECB (English Cricket Board). It is something they need to get right at a time when they are promoting equality.
Having an apparently racist Prime Minister doesn’t help their cause or indeed, that of England football manager, Gareth Southgate. Southgate is now having to hear about Tory MP’s who are refusing to support England if they continue to support Black Lives Matter.
You wouldn’t think it is 2021, would you?