First steps to a Black Footballers Association ?
Black footballers made fantastic history over the weekend. A small number of prominent players collectively protested about the games inability to effectively deal with racism. One could argue that the focus of their frustration, ‘Kick out racism' of football, was slightly misguided, but the collective political statement could not have been more powerful. By boycotting the wearing of the ‘Kick out racism’ shirts, they were in effect stating; ‘Deal with racism on and off the field’.
Moreover, it was the most senior Black player in the premiership-Rio Ferdinand-who led the charge. Ferdinand was backed by other senior and respected players including Jason Roberts, Anton Ferdinand, Joleon Lesscott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards, Kenwyne Jones and the entire Wigan and Swansea squads.
The English premiership has been convulsed by the incompetency of dealing with on and off racism in the last year. Those making racist remarks such as Luis Suarez, and John Terry have pitied Black players against Black players whilst adding insult to injury by their long drawn out denials.
What is significant about this weekend has been the coordinated response by a significant number of Black players. Having made this quantum leap it is now important they use this momentum to establish a collective voice to tackle race inequality in the game. In the USA, for example, collective Black voices within basketball, football, and baseball has helped established the Black Coaches Association which helps ensure a greater number of African American coaches come through.
A Black footballers Association could be that UK vehicle. With more that 33% of players in the premiership being Black even a small levy from those players would ensure it was well funded, independent and had the collective backing when it spoke up on issues of race.
Black players in the premiership showed the type of leadership we have all been waiting for. Now it’s time to build upon that and ensure we effectively deal with the games racism.