When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Racism rife but still needs to go
2:00pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in News
FORMER Claret Clarke Carlisle’s BBC3 documentary “Is Football Racist?” is bound to open doors for him in the media career he seems destined to pursue once he hangs up his boots.
Typically eloquent, the promotion winning defender tackled the key issues as well as he dealt with Sheffield United striker Craig Beattie in Burnley’s 2009 Championship play-off final victory; a man of the match display.
What was, however, untypical for a black, mixed race or Asian footballer who has been involved in the professional game during the last 20 years or so - certainly one who has played in all four divisions of the Football League - is that Carlisle says he has never personally experienced racism.
Perhaps it is testament to his mild-mannered characteristics as a player and person that he can say he has never been subjected to racial abuse.
Perhaps it is to his dad’s credit for shielding him from the taunts he faced during his own semi-professional career. Growing up, Carlisle was not exposed to the terraces.
Perhaps it is down to the calibre of the clubs he played for - three of them in the north west. Clubs like Blackpool, Burnley and Preston promote a family friendly environment.
Undoubtedly football has come a long way in the fight against racism since the 70s, 80s and 90s when it was rife in the game, and Carlisle is helping to continue that fight now.
There was no escape for ex-Clarets John Francis and Roger Eli in their playing days though. There was no-one to turn to.
“We just had to put up with it,” said Francis, who recalled having bananas thrown at him on the pitch on several occasions.
At Plymouth in the second leg of the 1994 Division Two play-off semi-final, he was the victim of monkey chants from the home crowd.
He responded by scoring twice to set up a Wembley showdown with Stockport County.
“When I scored the first goal I ran down the side of the pitch like monkey. That was my retort to them. If I had done that now I would have got myself in trouble for inciting the crowd,” he said.
“It’s not like that now. There have been big improvements.”
But there is work to do. The cases involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra prove there are still problems.
As a woman in football I am in a minority. I understand what it is like to face discrimination – although I am thankful that I have never suffered the same unsavoury experiences as some who spoke out in “Sexism in Football” – another BBC documentary that was aired earlier this year. I am even more thankful that, during my career, I have never witnessed racial abuse at any level of football.
We have a duty of care to each other as human beings to rid it from society and the game.
Doors need to be open to everyone in the wider football community.
Comments are closed on this article.