One of my earliest memories of supporting England was in a hot summer in 1986. It was boiling hot. My Dad had discovered extension leads so the crazy idea of sticking the telly outside and watching the World Cup was conceived. So we preceded to watch ‘The Hand Of God’ in the not so fresh air. We probably should’ve been wearing suncream or owt.
I am an Englishman. Like many I have foreign roots. My grandparents have an imperial background. Their surnames of ‘Cooper’ and ‘Dixon’ give much away in terms of national identity. They fought for England in wars. They drank tea in the afternoon. And our family returned to these shores after Indian rule ended for the UK in the 1950s.
I’ve never had a choice but to support England. I mean this in terms of national choices. I used to regularly go to England games as a kid, wear the shirt, sing the songs, etcetera. The expectation to support the national team is obvious. Patriotism is measured by how hard you can thump your chest and pride is extracted from this. It’s normal behaviour.
One thing that’s not normal behaviour though is racism.
Thankfully we live in 2012. A world where hardcore racism is not only frowned upon, but also illegal. Yes we are overtly politically correct as a society, but that’s a price we’ve paid for our foolish pasts. It is wrong to descrimitate due to race and colour. So whatever your persuasion, or personal opinion, if you walk into work one day…and racially abuse one of your colleagues, you can bet your house you will be suspended on full pay, pending a full investigation. No company worth it’s salt would do anything but in today’s England.
Except maybe the FA.
John Terry is technically guilty of nothing. Yet he has been stripped of the captaincy for a second time. If the evidence is used that we have already seen on our television sets a hundred times, we all know he will be found guilty of using racist language. Yet here he his, representing the country…representing US. The English people. Is this ok? Is this normal behaviour??
In the same way Liverpool supported Luis Suarez, the FA are as guilty of any crime John Terry has committed. Not only do they allow him to wear our shirt, they openly support his participation…by dropping the brother of the player from the squad who Terry abused. Is this acceptable? Is this normal behaviour??
The Three Lions belong to the FA. Not you and me. That badge is manufactured to make us believe that it represents the people. It doesn’t. It represents the Football Association of England, a business that has allowed an employee of their big bucks organisation carry on working after he has been accused of racism by not only a colleague… but also accused by the law.
Yet he still carries on regardless…as do we. Is this normal behaviour?
You see, we have a choice. We always have a choice. It’s like all those that moan about the tabloids to only go and give The Sun their pennies on a daily basis. Shall we turn a blind eye simply to keep the status quo? Would you work with Joe Bloggs and support him if he racially abused another colleague? These questions are simple ones. You can allow patriotism to cloud the issue, but the true English patriot would reject all of this, and not support an organisation that drops a man for the sole fact his brother is involved in a court case with their centreback.
Its a joke. I personally can’t support a joke. One day I’m sure I will cheer England again, but not during Euro 2012. Some will find the excitement of the tournament outweighs the act of racism, and that excitement fuels the apathy to the situation. That’s fine. It’s a choice based on personal opinion, morality, and social conscience. If JT nods the ball in at the French far post and you feel reassured enough to cheer that, when we openly are repelled by racism in the UK…then that’s your choice. But please don’t be aiming your conjecture at the ‘racist fans’ of other countries. If you stand with a racist, you condone their fibre. Racism in the Ukraine is the same as calling someone racist names on an English football pitch.
So the choice is yours. I don’t want England to lose. Never! I am an Englishman. But I won’t support a team that allows such behaviour not be dealt with in a modern and succinct way. If we all supported this fact, there would be no racists in our team at all. Your head should rule your heart in this situation. Logic tells us all the truth.
Dont be mugged off by those telling you patriotism outweighs racism. Otherwise it’s a strange, twisted route our futures hold.