Facts about Kevin Constant:
1. Kevin Constant is a full back who plays for AC Milan.
2. Kevin Constant is black.
As this is an article covering football, the second statement should have no importance. It should be a mistake, a typo but it is not. The second statement has importance because of an incident which took place on 23rd July 2013.
Constant was playing for his club against newly promoted Sassuolo, when after repeated racist chants from the crowd, he kicked the ball into the stands towards the crowd and promptly walked off the pitch. He was substituted, the fan’s actions were immediately described as vile and regrettable, and a very nasty situation defused.
What was not done, though, was a lack of action that could have gone into further pulverising the medieval, asinine, hateful and baseless scourge that is racism.
A bigger statement was made a few months ago when Kevin-Prince Boateng, Constant’s team-mate at Milan, was racially abused in a friendly. He too kicked the ball towards the stands and walked off the pitch, promptly followed by the whole team.
What is disheartening though, is the realisation that the statement, though powerful, was not enough to prevent an incident happening against a player of the same team. Mario Balotelli, Milan’s striker too has been a victim of racism in recent times, when playing against the likes of Juventus and the Spanish national team.
The cancer that is racism has been kind to no one, from incidents that range from Anton Ferdinand’s row with John Terry to Patrice Evra’s row with Luis Suarez. This problem is not recent as there have been cases of racism against black players countless times from eras bygone. Even legends of the game, like Romario, Samuel Eto’o and Roberto Carlos, have not been spared by this depraved state of mind.
Many solutions have been suggested and attempted, including imposition of fines, playing of matches under closed doors, and banishing of guilty fans. What has not banished though, is the cult of racism in a sport held so dear by so many.
A major fact of this phenomenon though, is the man at the helm of affairs, FIFA President Sepp Blatter – a man so ‘in touch’ with reality that he once suggested that if racist abuse takes place, both parties should “shake hands” like “real men”.
The statement and its intent are both laughable and disgusting, unbecoming of a man whose organisation’s “Kick Racism Out” slogan can be seen everywhere, from advertisement boards at matches to FIFA’s flagship console game. Manchester United’s Evra too was criticised, after revealing what Luis Suarez had said, as he was said to have broken some kind of “code” among all players.
This state of affairs means that the game’s very soul is in peril, as smug, self satisfied and out of touch administrators lead a fan base containing a section of virulent, uncivilized fans medieval in their thoughts and actions. If steps are not taken in short order, a game loved by billions, a game claiming more fans than any religion, a game said to possess the power to cross over all sorts of boundaries, will cease to be what it really is – a game.