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.

Racist Influences

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?

Johnson’s Backing

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?

3 Replies to "Racism in Football and Cricket"

  • Trevor
    June 8, 2021 (3:41 pm)

    Yeah like you Bob, I don’t know exactly where I stand on the Ollie Robinson situation and as a white, able-bodied male it’s certainly difficult to cast an opinion. I think your David Attenborough jar analogy is very good.
    Why Bojo even needed to express his views who the heck knows and certainly if I was Robinson trying to hide for cover around the event I personally wouldn’t want racist Johnson’s ‘support’.
    One of the ironies is that the ECB is itself a little bit racist – ECB doesn’t stand for ‘English Cricket Board’ but actually ‘England and Wales Cricket Board’ ?

  • Keith
    June 8, 2021 (5:07 pm)

    Good for you for sticking your head above the parapet Bob. Johnson’s support is the last thing he needs.

  • Norman House
    June 8, 2021 (7:49 pm)

    His comments were racist and sexist, but he was 19 and going through a turbulent time. He had been sacked by his county for bad timekeeping, amongst other things. He got his act together and has made a good career in professional sport. There is no evidence that he has been a serial abuser, in terms of what he has said then. It goes to show that whatever you put on-line has a trail. Though maybe Johnson would say ‘You are not viewing my comments in context’ .

    If the ECB are to be so stringent on past misdemeanours, why not do a proper trawl, before he appears in his first Test Match (in which he did very well). They have the resources to do that and if it’s zero tolerance, then do the checks first, before someone becomes an international

    It’s almost as though someone was waiting to trigger this scandal once he got to be in the limelight. It’s not such a big story if it’s just about a county player!

    As for Johnson, his support is a real poisoned chalice. Given that a child killer has just been given parole, I would think Robinson should have the opportunity to give his side of the story,

    And, yes the ECB includes Wales, because of Glamorgan 😉

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