ignorance
(AP PHOTO/ Jacques Brinon)

In this day and age, athletes and sports organization have used their platforms to address issues regarding race. Most teams and athletes have made their standings very clear. They all acknowledge and actively try to educate about racism and ignorance in sports, which has been a constant response among all the major sports leagues. Still, we now see an issue with owners who keep the issue alive.

Neymar Gets Into a Fight

After an incident took place during Le Classique, Neymar was involved in a brawl with Alvaro Gonzalez; Neymar claimed that Gonzalez hurled a racial slur at him, a biracial black man. The Brazillian star responded by slapping Gonzalez upside the head, which eventually led to a brawl between them. Neymar was ejected and banned for two matches, and the incident is currently under investigation.

ignorance
(FRANCK FIFE/ AFP)

Now enter ignorant man of the week, Noël Le Graët. When asked about the incident in an interview on Tuesday, he had this to say:

“When a black guy scores a goal, the whole is on its feet. This phenomenon of racism in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist at all or barely exists.”

Noël le graët

As expected, once he made his ignorance clear, he came under a firestorm of criticism. Many fans were calling him racist, and rightfully so. As a white man living in a European country, he has received the full benefits of his race; he will never experience what minorities go through during sports. His outright denial of racism in sports shows that he is willfully staying ignorant of issues that don’t concern him. Across the Italy-French border, Mario Balotelli was attacked with racist chants from fans while playing a game in Italy last year.

ignorance
(AP PHOTO/ Jacques Brinon)

We All Need to Do Better

Seeing how this incident only happened a year ago, Graët’s ignorance shows why sports teams need to use their platform to educate. These issues affect a specific group of people, but that doesn’t mean everyone else shouldn’t care. The beautiful thing about competition is that once we’re on the court, field, or pitch, nothing matters but the game. Most people don’t care if you’re black, white, or anything else. But it’s important to remember that issues are still alive within sports, and we need to come together to make them even better for everyone. We need to end ignorance in sport, but it starts with a change in ourselves.

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