It's been an ugly week for the football industry, as racism reared its head once again, through the form of a number of Chelsea FC fans in Paris.
Everyone knows what happens in that video, and everyone was shocked that racism could be so overt in 2015. I don't think it is shocking - our society has a nasty tendency for bigotry, whether that means being non inclusive of blacks, women, gays or transgenders is up to the individual bigot, but it is all very familiar.
Chelsea are now looking into the matter and have suspended three fans, one of which has also been suspended from his Mayfair based job. While I fully advocate a zero tolerance stance on any form of discrimination, I think something is missing from the way these bigots are punished. What is missing, is education. I think it is absolutely vital that education be a mandatory part of punishment. This should come in the form of attending Kick it Out workshops, or other courses which educate people on the issues of racism or sexism.
The incident in Paris was horrible, brutish and disgusting, but if anything good has come of it, it is that the world is having a much needed conversation about it.
Being A Blackburn Fan
Having been a season ticket holder for the last four years at Ewood Park, I have grown used to unpredictability and inconsistency. Whether it was when we got through five managers in one season, beating Manchester United 3-2 away and then losing 2-0 to Tottenham without having a single shot, or having Derek Shaw, Paul Agnew and Shebby Singh say completely contradictory things about the club when they were all working for us.
However, the most recent inconsistency I would like to focus on, is the tiny, little detail that we seem to be playing absolutely fantastically in the FA Cup, compared to below average in the league. After beating Stoke 4-1 on Saturday, Rovers fans thought that the team would be on fire and would easily take the points from an out of form Cardiff.
However the team was changed, and a late goal from Cardiff deflated fans. Fortunately Rudy Gestede was able to score an equaliser, bit the question was still there - why can't we beat Cardiff, when we've just put four past a Premier League team?
Some fans have said that it might be due to the fact that there is less pressure on us to do well in the FA Cup, so we've been playing more risky and fearless football. Some fans put it down to the manager changing the team too much. For example, after two sterling performances in the FA Cup, Shane Duffy was dropped on Tuesday evening in favour of Grant Hanley, who resumed his captaincy after Matt Kilgallon took to the helm against Stoke.
It's extremely frustrating because fans have seen how the team can play, but can't see it every week. Something needs to change, as the play off dreams that are still spoken about are slipping further and further away.
Twice this week I have been harassed online by Twitter users who have claimed to be associated with football clubs. The first claimed to be a trainee journalist at Chelsea FC, and became abusive to me after I challenged a highly misogynistic tweet he sent out to another female. He then called me a c**t and sl*g amongst making threats to me about my work with the Metro. Fortunately after myself and others had reported him to Chelsea, the club confirmed that he was not and never had been employed the club, forcing him to close his account.
Last night I also received harassing messages from another Twitter user, who claimed to be an online editor for Arsenal FC. Again, after the user was made aware that I had reported him for harassment to Twitter, and reported him to Arsenal, he became threatening about my job, telling me to look out for an email in the morning, made libellous claims about me and even tweeted the account for where I work saying "Thanks for the email".
Obviously, both users are merely trolls, and many people have told me to ignore and dismiss them. However, I will continue to report before blocking, as I believe that clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea ought to be aware of abusive users who are associating themselves as employees of the club. Thank you to all who supported me during these incidents.
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