I DON’T assume I’d ever heard of John Yems earlier than this week and, frankly, I hope I by no means hear his identify once more.
I’ve by no means met the former Crawley City supervisor and hope I by no means do.
I don’t imply that in a threatening manner, I simply don’t assume I may take care of being within the firm of somebody so silly and ignorant.
He was discovered to have referred to a few of Crawley’s black and Asian gamers as “curry munchers”, “terrorists” and “Zulu warriors”, together with different slurs.
I’m in a WhatsApp group with a number of outstanding present and former black footballers — together with a number of the largest names within the recreation — and I’ve not often heard such real fury from them than the response to the Yems case.
As a result of whereas an FA fee banned Yems, they restricted his punishment, stating that he’s not a “conscious racist”.
That was a profoundly embarrassing and worrying factor for the FA’s unbiased fee to state.
There’s a whole lot of real anger about it, imagine me.
If these insults don’t represent acutely aware racism, I actually don’t know what does.
Does somebody have to decorate up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit to be deemed a “conscious racist” as a result of that’s the way it feels to me and a whole lot of black gamers.
Put it one other manner, what number of acutely aware racists are you aware — individuals who’ll say, “Yes, I’m a racist”? Only a few.
When somebody begins a sentence with, “I’m not being racist but . . . ” you realize what’s coming subsequent.
Or, “How can I be racist when I’ve got black friends?” That’s at all times one.
Yems then went on talkSPORT on Thursday and was interviewed by Jim White.
He sounded unrepentant, even claiming HE ought to be receiving apologies.
Once I heard that interview, my preliminary thought was that the station shouldn’t have given him the platform — though if I used to be nonetheless working for talkSPORT, I do know I’d have wished to grill Yems and problem his views.
Sure, Yems may have acquired criticism.
However lots of people may have been completely happy and proud to listen to Yems spouting his nonsense as a result of they may really feel it has added justification to their very own offensive views.
If you will have Yems on the radio, making an attempt to make himself sound like some form of sufferer, then we actually ought to hear from the precise victims.
A few of these gamers who have been bullied by Yems say their careers have been wrecked by him.
We can’t think about the toll this type of behaviour may need taken on their psychological well being.
Folks in soccer make the suitable noises about racism however this Yems verdict makes me really feel every thing goes backwards.
The England workforce and the supervisor Gareth Southgate, have been very robust on taking the knee as an anti-discrimination message in the beginning of matches — even regardless of opposition from some Three Lions supporters.
However then one thing like this occurs, below the auspices of the FA, and there’s horror and disbelief amongst black gamers.
We nonetheless really feel we’re on the backside rung in the case of tackling discrimination.
There was one other current racism controversy, surrounding the 19-year-old Leeds winger Willy Gnonto and a tune from his membership’s followers which incorporates the road, “his c**k’s f***ing massive”.
There have been related chants about black gamers earlier than.
Leeds and their supervisor, Jesse Marsch, have been outspoken in making an attempt to coach folks that the road relies on an offensive racist stereotype and have requested supporters to adapt or scrap the tune.
However when Gnonto scored a surprise aim in opposition to Cardiff of their FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday, the tune was sung once more.
I discover the degrees of stupidity unbelievable — the concept 40,000 folks can get collectively, in 2023 and resolve that singing a tune like that’s a good suggestion.
Speaking of stupidity, the incident the place Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale was kicked by a Tottenham fan after Sunday’s North London derby was additionally troubling.
Particularly the concept Ramsdale in some way provoked the incident by kissing his badge after the ultimate whistle.
Ramsdale had been taking stick, so he gave somewhat again.
We don’t need gamers to need to act as robots.
We must always have the ability to present somewhat ardour however now it feels that, by doing so, we’re risking our security.
I hope the Spurs fan is given a punishment which impacts his on a regular basis life, resembling a soccer banning order.
It appears a part of a rising tradition of supporters feeling they’re entitled to invade the taking part in space — a fan ran on throughout Wednesday’s Crystal Palace v Manchester United match and took a selfie with Crimson Devils midfielder Casemiro.
Once more, it’s that worrying sense of entitlement — and stupidity.
It’s been a type of weeks the place you despair for soccer and wider society.
The one optimistic factor I’ve heard is that when my Birmingham facet play Preston in the present day, referee Rebecca Welch will turn into the primary girl to take cost of a Championship fixture.
That’s one step in the suitable path when it comes to equality.
However the Yems case exhibits that, in different areas, we nonetheless have a hell of a protracted solution to go.