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armchair centre back :: you're racist and we hate it

you may have heard that a group of chelsea fans managed to distinguish themselves in paris by refusing to let a black man board a metro train and chanting "we're racist and we like it". as with absolutely everything done in the world today, these events were captured on camera, with the boisterous chanting all too audible. leaving aside for the moment that these people are most likely minions of the antichrist, it's worth noting that not only is this indicative of a racism problem within the sport itself, but a problem with chelsea fans in particular, who are, according to british home office statistics, the most racist fans in the premier league [i.e., the fans who have been arrested/ charged/ convicted most often of racism].

first, here's the video [courtesy of the guardian]:



keep it classy, boys.

initial reports were simply that the fans had resisted the man's attempts to get on the train, but the video seems to show something a little more active. one of the self-declared racists appears to grab him and virtually throw him back on the platform, all amidst the chanting. i'm not exactly sure what kind of brain thinks singing that you're happy to be racist is acceptable, especially in the middle of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, but i'm happy enough to go through life without meeting anyone so stupid as to do so.

john terry, an inspiration to chelsea fans in all the wrong ways
to give you a better idea of the intellect at work, however, i direct you to one fan's defense of the group's actions: he claims that they pushed the man back because the car was full [those of us who frequent public transit would say that we've seen people squished into more crowded cars] and that the fans weren't singing about being racist themselves, but rather as an homage to chelsea team captain john terry, who was suspended for racially abusing another player. [terry was eventually found not guilty of criminal racism, but the incident was enough to see him pushed out of his role as the captain of the english national football team. he retained the captaincy of chelsea.] that is seriously the explanation that's being offered: we're not racists, we're just showing our support for our number one guy, who is racist.

i'm guessing no one on that train is splitting the atom anytime soon.

[read what the victim of the abuse has to say about the incident here, in an interview with le parisien. as it happens, he doesn't speak english, although the body language of the fans was clear enough, and was sort of surprised when he found out that video of him was all over the internet.]

personally, i'd love to see what those fans would have to say to club legend didier drogba and to see if any of them individually, had the stones to repeat the racist chanting to his face. for that matter, i'd like to know how proud racists justify cheering a team that owes its success to a wealthy jewish owner and a manager whom many european racists wouldn't consider to be "properly" white. [i'm choosing to interpret as coincidence the fact that chelsea's racial diversity literally pales when compared with other top-tier premier league teams like liverpool and arsenal.]

didier drogba, one of the greatest arguments against racism
racist chants at football matches are unfortunately not rare. indeed, the sort of abuse that gets hurled at players in europe is shocking to north american ears [not because there isn't endemic racism here, but because it has become understood that there are certain things that one just can't say in the general public sphere]. the european football association has punished some teams [notably russian powerhouse cska moscow] for fans' behaviour by banning supporters from attending matches, which also denies the team the revenue it would have generated from ticket sales. however, that's clearly been ineffective, which means it's time to ramp up the stakes a little more. time to hit teams where it hurts- penalizing them points or goals to handicap them in their search for domestic and international titles.

many pundits, fans, players and journalists have condemned what happened in paris and chelsea themselves have said that if and when the fans on the train are identified, they'll be banned from team matches for life. [hey guys, a couple of them have been identified. here's a picture of one of them with ukip leader nigel farage. apparently, the chelsea fan is a big supporter when he's not shoving black men around or singing about what a proud racist he is. and that's in addition to the one who gave the "excuse" interview linked above.] however, it's really the regulatory body that has to step up here. until then, all that others can do is speak out and condemn this sort of behaviour when the opportunity arises.[breaking news! literally as i am typing this blog post, the bbc is reporting that three fans have been provisionally suspended from attending chelsea games, with lifetime bans possible if it's proven that they were involved in the paris metro incident.]

i will leave you with what i think might be the greatest reaction to racist fans ever. [and sparked a trend of footballers posing with bananas to make a statement against racism just ahead of last year's world cup.] it's become a trend now to insult darker-skinned players by referring to them as "monkeys" or making monkey sounds at them. in this case, one fan jeered barcelona player dani alves by tossing a banana at him during a match. [the fan responsible was later identified and banned from matches for life.] alves' response was to grab the banana, take a big bite and proceed with his game with professional cool. yeah, that's right: this man eats racism for breakfast.

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