Skip to main content

Is racism in sports 'a lost war'?

Haresh Says, as published in Mailsport today.

HE spoke about security in the region and strengthening bilateral ties between both nations.
Barack Obama was even asked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, insisting US was not bullying Malaysia.
And during the press conference at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya on Sunday, Obama joined a string of politicians and athletes as he condemned the racist remarks which were apparently uttered by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Obama called the remarks “incredibly offensive”.

“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That’s what happened here,” he said.
The basketball tycoon hogged the limelight for the wrong reason over the weekend after news website TMZ posted a 10-minute recording of what is claimed to be a conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, 38.
Sterling had apparently said: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re association with black people ... I’m just saying, in your ... Instagrams, you don’t need to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
The National Basketball Association have initiated an investigation over the matter.
But racism in sports is nothing new.
'A lost war'?
Athletes, officials and even fans have been guilty of being racist and also victimised over racist issues.
Barcelona defender Dani Alves, who is often subjected to racist taunts, had a banana thrown at him in the match against Villarreal on Sunday.
The Brazilian instead reacted by picking up the fruit and eating it before proceeding to take a corner kick.
He was quoted by AP as saying: “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily.
“If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”
But in 2013, Alves admitted fighting racism was “a lost war”.
Such an issue has even cropped up in the M-League this season after Pahang’s Jamaican defender Damion Stewart claimed he was subjected to racial abuse by two Johor Darul Takzim import players during a Super League match in Kuantan in February.
There was also claims fans had taunted Negri Sembilan forward Jean Emmanuel Effa Owana with monkey chants during a Premier League match against Police in March.
Those at the grassroots, till today, claim players are selected not based on their talents but skin-colour.
They also claim certain sports are dominated by a certain community.
But isn’t sports supposed to be colour-blind?
Unifying through sports
Much has been said about music and sports being a unifying factor for mankind. History has taught us how certain events unfolded and where people of various ethnic groups, colour, religion and background were united through sports.
Former South Africa president Nelson Mandela used the 1995 rugby World Cup to unite a then divided nation, ending apartheid.
Back home, deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had during the Malaysia University Sports Council awards ceremony last year, said sports must “continue to serve as an agent of unity in Malaysia”.
There will always be one or two self-centred racist bigots who choose to judge others by their colour or religion.
Let’s just pretend these ignorant people are “ill”, offer them a helping hand and show them how colourful and beautiful sports is.
 HARESH DEOL is editor (investigations and special projects) of The Malay Mail. Banter with him at or on Twitter @HareshDeol


  1. I much prefer to be honest than pretend: racism is wrong, racists are uninformed or ignorant or evil people. definition of racism: believeing that due to physical characteristics one group of people is inherently superior to or inferior to another group of people. Nonsense, if it did not do so much harm Don't ask people to pretend nothing is wrong when something is. Not smart. Not good.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.


It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.


UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.


A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…