At the start of October, José Mourinho told a press conference that there was “no racism in football.” That was either Mourinho naively believing racism is solely expressed by hateful bigotry deployed in words or him being far more willing to ignore the lengthy evidence that there is, indeed, racism in soccer. There is racism in almost every club and every country with involvement in soccer, and there is a particularly obvious history of it with Chelsea itself. Incidents over the last few years are enough to highlights Mourinho’s view as bullshit of the highest order.
If you go back to September 2012, you can find Mourinho claiming that John Terry is “not racist, 100%.” It was the instinctive defense of a man who came through a court case with an almost incredible defense – that he called Anton Ferdinand a “black cunt” sarcastically, a defense that was called “unlikely” by the judge. Terry was then banned by England’s FA who found that he had racially abused Ferdinand. It was not the first time Terry had been accused of racially abusing an opponent.
Chelsea, recently in the news for commendably given its employees the living, rather than minimum, wage, has reduced its standing in the community by allowing Terry to remain as a captain. The club has renewed his contract, and the fans continue to display their banner declaring Terry as “Captain, Leader, Legend.”
Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images.
But that’s just one player, and one player is not representative of a whole club. The fans, though, who chanted at Anton Ferdinand “you know what you are,” are representative of a large part of a club. To imply that Ferdinand is a “black cunt” and to do so among thousands of like-minded individuals is an irrefutable example of racism. That those fans then booed Ferdinand’s brother Rio, for whatever reason — it’s fair to assume simply because he is Anton’s brother and has also spoken out against racism — further makes Mourinho look foolish. He should either learn, shut up, or learn to shut up when it comes to racism in soccer.
The Ferdinand case is one central episode made into many by the fans, though. The fans likewise booed Patrice Evra, also in the news for being racially abused. It wasn’t by one of their players, but Chelsea fans clearly felt a duty to lend their solidarity to a fellow bigot.
Those fans do not stick to abusing black players, though. They have their other predilections. You can find accounts of Chelsea fans hissing at Spurs fans, to supposedly call to mind the gassing of Jews at, amongst other places, the Auschwitz camp in World War II. Given the ease with which you can find articles like this, it’s not even worth coming up with a pithy end to this paragraph to have another dig at Mourinho.
Last night, as Chelsea fans made their way from the match against PSG in the Champions League, Chelsea fans sang proudly about being racist and prevented a black man from getting onto a subway train with them. Chelsea has reacted to the story in the only way it really could and have threatened that fans who have found to be involved will be banned, but the incident further highlights Mourinho’s foolishness.
This isn’t new for Chelsea, of course. The club has a history of problems with racism from its fans, such as its own Paul Canoville, subjected to horrendous abuse, and players of color who have played against them. They clearly continue to do so. So when Mourinho denies that there is no racism in football, it is clearly wrong and contributing to world being a miserable place. It’s fine when he wants to make a circus of life to his own ends, creating controversy after controversy to distract from the failures of his own club — that’s part of what being a manager often entails — but if he starts to play politics with race, or grandstands about these fans being horrendous beasts, he should be reminded of his earlier lies.
Author’s note: This post is solely about showing Mourinho’s idiocy about racism in soccer. It does not deny the existence of evidence of other clubs, fans or players being racist, not limited to: Manchester United fans tweeting racist abuse to Mario Balotelli, singing racist songs about Emmanuel Adebayor in the Stretford End, Spurs fans singing racist songs about Sol Campbell, Liverpool fans racially abusing Evra and any people of color who dared to speak out about racism, Suárez himself, Balotelli’s anti-Semitic Instagram post, Arrigo Sacchi, Serbian fans, Italian fans, Spanish fans, South American fans, North American fans, Australian fans, or society as a whole. So please do not tweet with comments saying, “but what about …” because yes, obviously, that exists too.