Sport brings millions of people together, regardless of their sex, color , gender, age, religion and thus it have a potential to play an important role in creating a non biased society.
Sports activities ranges from the local to the national and international level, embraces leisure as well as competitive sport, and can support the integration of migrants, and the inclusion and participation in society of persons belonging to minorities. In other words, engaging and participating in sport events could be an ideal platform to foster inclusion, acceptance of diversity and mutual respect while combating racism, discrimination and exclusion.Consequently , sport is often used as a paradigm of how an integrated society should look.
Racism is the belief that groups of human possess different behavioural traits that corresponds to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity.
Racism has been a prevalent issue around the world. According to the human rights and equal opportunity commission ( HREOC ) report,released in 2007, stated that racial abuse and vilification is commonplace in international sports, in places such as Australia, Europe and united states. Racism is not a trend, it has become a permanent strain in sports.Recently, we have seen several raged demonstrations worldwide regarding racism. The cycles is similar starting with White shame, White guilt, White saviour, Temporary measures,Gestures of support, Absolution but nothing changes.
Although in the major professional sports today, the majority of players are of black or brown origin, this does not mean that racism is absent. Black and brown athletes often deal with racial stereotypes, isolation from the rest of the teams.
INSTANCES OF RACISM
In January, during the third test match between India and Australia, Mohammed Siraj was called “ brown dog, go home” and “brown monkey ” by a group of Australian spectators in Sydney cricket ground. They were later ejected from the ground by new South Wales Police and Indian cricket management team filed an official compliant to ICC match referee David Boon. Australian cricket promised strongest action against the offenders and yet no action has been taken since then.
Former Australian cricketer and commentator Dean Jones called South African cricketer HashimAmla a “terrorist” on 7 August 2006. When HashimAmla,a Muslim with a full beard, took a catch, Dean Jones was heard to say “the terrorist gets another wicket”. Jones made the comment during a commercial break, but the comment went live in South Africa as its broadcast was not interrupted. Later, Dean Jones was fired as a commentator, and apologized to all concerned.
Raheem Sterling of Manchester City became the target of racist remarks from fans during a match against Chelsea. He went on to speak out against these acts of racism and against the treatment of young black soccer players.
Even LeBron James, who is one of today’s most successful basketball players, is not immune to racism. In June 2017, the athlete’s home was vandalized with racial slurs the night before that season’s NBA Finals. James responded and said“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.”
REFORMS FOR RACISM
A number of measures can be taken by relevant sports authorities at international and national level in order to fight and prevent racism, ethnic discrimination and social exclusion in sport and to support the inclusive potential of sport.These measures can be of legislative nature so that they could include the establishing of effective monitoring systems, the launching of awareness-raising campaigns, the implementation of diversity management programmes, the critical assessment of legal and administrative barriers to equal participation in sport, and the encouragement of athletes, players, officials and fans to take a public stance against racism and related intolerances.
Some suggestions that could help in combating racism in sports are-
- A zero-tolerance racism policy- This should apply to players, coaches, staff, and fans by making it clear that racial discrimination in any form is not welcome in the organization.
- Supporting athletes who speak up- players should be encouraged to report racial discrimination when they experience or witness it.
- Focus should be on inclusion- Teams should strive to include all players equally when planning team- and skill-building activities.
- Establish a safe sporting space for new immigrants- Immigrants come from a variety of national, racial, and linguistic backgrounds. Make organization welcoming and accessible to them.
- Enact and implement anti-discrimination legislation ensuring access to sport for all, and penalising racist acts.
- Build coalitions against racism in sport.Concerned authorities should build and lead coalitions against racism in sport, inviting participation from local authorities, sports federation and clubs, athletes, coaches, referees, supporters’ groups, minority representation groups, NGOs and the media. Organise and finance large scale anti-racism awareness raising campaigns in sport at all levels, involving all relevant factors. Provide funding for social, educational and information activities for NGOs active in the field of combating racism and racial discrimination in sport.
- Encourage the media to report on racist incidents taking place during sports events and to give publicity to sanctions incurred by racist offenders.