Football seems to be on the receiving end of a hateful double whammy

Anonymity offered in crowds as well as online is fuelling abuse, writes Sanjay Bhandari, the chair of Kick It OutEnglish football seems to be stuck in its re-imagining of Groundhog Day – the latest incident being alleged racist abuse directed at Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min. To echo Stan Collymore’s thoughts on Twitter, the infinite loop goes something like this: racist incident, outrage, condemnation, phone-in debates, talking heads, blame-storming, offers of simplistic solutions to complex problems – before the media moves on to hunt for the next outrage.Collectively, how do we jump out of the infinite loop? In our divided society, is it possible to have nuanced and balanced dialogue about tackling racism in football or society (look at how Stormzy’s 100% accurate assessment of racism in Britain was twisted)? If we don’t have the patience to focus on solutions for more than two days after a major incident, how can we pretend to have the patience necessary for long-term solutions? Having entered the fray so eloquently and passionately in recent months, I hope that pundits like Gary Neville stay involved and continue to use their platform to help the fight – even during weeks when we do not see any high-profile incidents of abuse. Continue reading…