Thursday, April 13, 2006

Worldy Proportions of Justice for a Global Sport

I knew they were serious about soccer in Brazil, but racism? Considering Brazil's racial history and the regular denial of racism, I found the recent decision to charge a Brazilian player with racism for shouting "monkey" at an opposing player during a soccer match to be most surprising. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, as "Racism is a crime in Brazil not subject to bail." In this particular case the accused faces one to three years in jail.

While I applaud the sentiment behind the creation and implementation of such a law, it strikes me as a form of recourse far too vengeful.

Perhaps I'm just used to the commonly ignored brand of racism that the U.S. regularly serves up.


Brother Afrocan said...

well brazil is perhaps the most multicultural country in the world. they have all racial segments in the country and probably have a vested interest in them all getting along.

Brother Smartness said...

I agree that they've gone a bit too far here. The censorship of speech is as horrible a thing as racism itself.

RAK said...

let's not forget, the idiot who used the slurs punishment options include passing out anti-racism pamphlets. that seems like a perfectly reasonable response to racism. He's not being censored per se, just being told that if you say X, you must do Y. It's like the US's deal with smoking can do something bad, but you also have to pay in some form for the opposite message. i find it somewhat appealing, actually.

Futbol has a race problem that pops its ugly head up every once in a while. While I was in Barcelona, Eto'o, their star African forward was denigrated by fans. An italian player used a fascist salute after scoring a goal in Italy.

Brother Afrocan said...

interesting WSJ commentary that made me think of this discussion.

Germany will host this summer's World Cup, bringing the tournament to the continent with the world's best soccer and some of its worst fans. The Associated Press's Jerome Pugmire delves into a disturbing feud between fans of the same team, Paris Saint-Germain. "Many of the fans yelling insults are members of white hooligan gangs that prowl the stadium grounds on game day, looking for a fight with black and Arab members of a multiethnic rival gang," Mr. Pugmire writes. "Interviews with gang members and repeated visits to PSG games found that racist hooligans operate openly and with almost total impunity at the 43,000-seat stadium on the western outskirts of Paris."

Likewise, English soccer is afflicted by widespread racism. Gillingham goalkeeper Jason Brown describes to the Independent's Glenn Moore his reaction to recent racial incidents, including monkey chants from the stands: "This is my colour but I'm no different from you. We speak the same, we bleed the same colour. The days when people thought black people were different are long gone, or should be. Muslims are getting similar problems now because of 9/11. It's wrong. People say 'Don't listen to them, they're just narrow-minded', but it's different if it's happening to you."