As the title suggests, I’m MAD, I’m black and I love sports. Scratch that sports is my drug; I’m addicted to it, but I’m also incensed at the recent stories involving sports that have ignited a fire in me. RACISM is back and its ugly head is rearing from one of the few things I’m genuinely passionate about. Let me backtrack on the beginning of my love affair with sports so that you can fully grasp why I don’t enjoy anything messing with it. Sports was something I never bothered with until I needed to bond with my dad and a mutual friend suggested indulging in either one of his two passions which are the gym and sports; clearly, I wasn’t emotionally ready for the gym so I chose sports!
There I was, one afternoon watching a bunch of cars racing around the track and I’ve never looked back. From the streets of Monaco to the sun-kissed evenings at Wimbledon to the theatre of dreams I’ve been captivated by the thrill of sports events, be it formula 1, soccer or tennis if, it’s on I’ll be watching! I’m so passionate I cry for my teams (SMH), I sweat with them; I’m that stalkerish twelfth player willing them on, defending with them, scoring with them and shedding tears with them. A few weeks back when I was kicking it and watching my team Barcelona play, a crazed-a** fan threw a banana at Dani Alves, a defender ready to take on a corner. His response, in my opinion and that of millions of others who aren’t necessarily sports fans, was the bravest things I’ve ever seen. The guy picked up the banana, ate it and proceeded to take the corner, which resulted in a goal, which got us back into the match we were playing.
That’s all it took for the uproar about racism to re-emerge; but let’s not be naïve. What he did was brave yes, but racism has always been alive. Just look at the Italian league’s black players constantly being abused, making life so difficult for the players who opt to leave and play for other leagues. Ask Mario Balotelli, aka, Super Mario, who, rumor has it, wants a move back to England due to the racism he encounters while playing the game he and so many others, love. The fans who are supposed to be there to cheer their own teams seem to resort to monkey chants aimed at the black players of opposing teams.
Heard about Donald Sterling? Well, he’s the former Los Angeles Clippers owner who was caught on tape berating his girlfriend for posting an Instagram picture with one of the most famous black basketball players of generations past, Magic Johnson. His defense “I was baited” how exactly is one baited into saying things he personally doesn’t believe in during a normal conversation? The NBA responded harshly, giving him a lifetime ban and a heavy monetary fine. It still felt like he was getting off easy! When do we know that we’ve crossed the line? When do we say enough is enough? They say the more things change the more things stay same and that has proven to be true. We’ve been talking about discrimination of black people for the longest time possible and now it’s seeping through into sports once again.
From Nelson Mandela, to Martin Luther king, to our own great grandparents; they’ve all fought with the hope that the generation that subsequent generations will enjoy the freedoms they did not; but we have let them down and have gone back to the ancient days where some white people believe that it’s okay to act superior to us as black people. By the gesture of eating the banana, Alves took back our power, he sent out a statement that nobody was going to belittle him and all of us chocolate-ninjas, and screamed resoundingly that we are all equal regardless of the color that graces your skin.
So in the words of millions of fans, WE ARE ALL MONKEYS!!!
From a special, anonymous guest writer