Home Secretary: Priti Patel.
Priti Patel, by her own admission, knows what it is, to be the victim of verbal and online abuse over her ethnicity. So, she will be familiar, with the abuse that England's black and mixed-race players have been on the receiving end of. The abuse came thick and fast, on social media platforms, after England's penalty shootout loss to Italy, 3 - 2. Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho received this tirade, after missing or having their shots saved by, Goliath Italian Goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarummer.
Right now in the Commons, a Deputy of Ms. Patel is taking questions on behalf of the said, Home Secretary. Why Priti, could not come out and face the questions directly, is not known. It is possible, she cannot face the questions herself or is too busy, so she wheels out a deputy. Her deputy, however, seems able and well enough, to take questions, (possibly better than Ms. Patel herself?). The said deputy, is Ms. Atkins, Safeguarding Minister.
Ms. Patel said taking the knee was gesture politics and did nothing to end, the scourge of abuse. Ms. Patel, also said, fans booing England players taking the knee, is a choice to boo or not to boo. Let's look at the subject of 'booing' and 'taking the knee'. Why are fans booing? Certainly, a certain portion will be racists that is sad, but true. Others, will not necessarily be racists, they will be booing because, they came to see a great clash, between Italy and England. Others will be aware of the politics, behind taking the knee, whether they agree with anti-racism or even be BLM supporters, they just want to see a game, with no politics. Some booers will be against racism, but, do not like the far-left politics of BLM. Others, of course, will be far-right fans, who of course, will be against the other political extreme of far-left politics represented by BLM. When you label people as 'racists' just because they boo, you should be careful what you say. England fans booed the Italian National Anthem or booed when Italy, had the ball. Does this make England fans racist to Italians or indeed, vice-versa? Danes suffered racially from England fans, isn't that also racism? Some say if players have the right to take the knee, (whether supporting BLM or genuinely thinking, taking the knee is taking a stand against racism) they have the right to do that. So, to quote Ms. Patel, (which I am certainly no fan of), don't fans have the right to boo taking the knee? In a freedom-loving democracy, (which we appear not to be, anymore?) footballers and fans alike should have the right to express, themselves. But it seems these days, if people, take a stance against the latest 'Woke' agenda, they are made a pariah.
As much as there are arguments and views, to say religion, politics, etc, can be expressed in sports and other public platforms, there is the opposing view, too. That view, is simply this, that religion, politics, etc, should be kept out of sports. Football is already a charged atmosphere when you have two teams, opposing each other, without adding, controversial things on top of that.
Take Marcus Rashford, who had his mural, unfortunately, defaced by unknowns. Mr. Rashford has shamed the government of Boris Johnson, in campaigning to feed hungry children. Mr. Rashford for a 23-year-old seems to have, a very sensible, head on his shoulders. Other footballers have campaigned, on behalf of the NHS, and other important issues. All this off the field of play, and maybe, that's where these issues should stay, off the field. Perhaps, today's bright young things of football, whatever their race, nationality, political views, or indeed, faith, should take a leaf from Christiano Ronaldo's book. Ronaldo, apart from Lionel Messi, is perhaps, the most famous footballer on the planet. Mr. Ronaldo has honed himself, mentally and physically into an outstanding, skillful athlete. It is easy to attack Christiano as some sort of God, that people look up to. However, Mr. Ronaldo has a track record of being the most charitable footballer, ever. This proves, that Christiano, despite his extravagant life and self-obsession, of being the best of the best, (even, at 36), his concern for issues and his playing on the field, speak for themselves. That is why, I said earlier, young players of today would do well, to take a leaf out of his book.
As regards, players responding to the abuse they suffer, whether that be racist or any other insult, there is an argument to say, do not respond. Why not respond? Well, the more you react to your oppressors, your haters, you give them a platform with an issue you complain about, for them to beat you with. By all means, launch a campaign against racism, campaign for the NHS, speak up for the poor, climate change, etc. However, develop a Teflon mind and let insults wash over you. Do not let these vile tirades ruin your life, do not let them define you. Marcus Rashford, Bukaya Saka, etc, are Christians, spiritually speaking, they should leave God to deal with the abuse. They should train their minds, mindfully, to do this, and leave these things with him. Sterling does meditation, so he is on the right path, to mindfully and spiritually, let things go. The more you give attention to negativity, the more it will grow and fester, the less you give it thought, therefore, the less power it has. I am not judging the footballers, insults hurt, especially if you do not know how to deal with them, spiritually. All I am saying is, maybe these footballers, in fact, all of us, instead of lashing out, should instead, take a more peaceful, mindful way in life, reflecting positivity, (despite what life throws at us), making negativity flee away.
Returning to the subject of Ms. Patel, many cabinet colleagues have expressed surprise. Why? Well, many of her colleagues have expressed their support for her, when she is accused of 'stoking racism'. Her colleagues have used words like, "unusual" and "odd" that Labour and other parties have accused her of doing this. However, one Tory MP, who one, would consider as being on the right of the party, is Steve Baker. Steve Baker, has said, maybe the Tory party should re-examine its position, on 'taking the knee'. In other words, in speaking out against 'taking the knee' the Tory party could be on the wrong side, of history. Tyrone Mings, England defender, has taken Ms. Patel to task. Expressing his view, that Ms. Patel's views are not helping the subject of racism, in describing 'taking the knee', as "gesture politics". Another prominent backbench, Tory, however, has like cabinet colleagues, expressed his support for the Home Secretary. Andrew Rossindell has called on Tyrone Mings, to stick to football and keep out of politics.
Finally, then, football it seems can never escape the ghost of the past. That spectre of racism, politics, hooliganism, tribalism, etc, is still present in the so-called 'beautiful game. And, sadly, despite the well-intentioned actions of many, that may always be, the case.
Nick Bishop (author) on July 14, 2021:
Thanks, Hira, appreciate it.
hira from faisalabad on July 14, 2021: