Soccer has a long and sordid history of racism and discrimination involving fans in the stands and, more recently, on social media. The abusive conduct that has taken place during games has been well-documented: fans throwing bananas on the field at dark-skinned players, often accompanied by monkey chants; fans adorned in blackface; gay and homophobic slurs. The governing bodies have tried numerous ways to deal with the problem, including deducting points from teams with offensive fans, relegating such teams to lower leagues, taking away home games and even playing in empty stadiums. So far, nothing has seemed to work.
A recent report from Kick It Out, an organization dedicated to equality and inclusion in soccer, found that this season there have been over 130,000 discriminatory posts on social media aimed at soccer players. The discriminatory posts have focused on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, anti-Semitism and more. The report found that Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has received over 8,000 discriminatory messages this season, including over 4,000 racist posts.
What will it take to bring this all to an end? Would be interested to hear from those who are fans not only of soccer, but also of decency and equality.