Thursday, 4 October 2012

Black players proclaim, "enough is enough"

Jamie Lawrence during his days at Bradford City
Just before EURO 2012, when UEFA shrugged away Chris Rogers' Panorama report on racism in the crowd in Poland and Ukraine's leagues, I wrote: "If governing bodies won't stand up for their black players, perhaps black players might do it for themselves."

I had a phone call from a friend in football, who confirmed that a lobby of players in the English game were in ongoing dialogue with the PFA chairman, Gordon Taylor.

Kick It Out wasn't doing anywhere near enough to rid football of racism, did little to help and defend Anton Ferdinand through the John Terry trial - and amounted to mere box-ticking, he said.

So desperate did they feel about the many acts of racism alleged to exist throughout the game, a boycott of Kick It Out was imminent - even the threat of a breakaway black players union.

Jamie Lawrence, formerly of Bradford and Leicester, broke ranks to give me an exclusive interview which I aired on talkSPORT Extra Time.

Kick It Out needs a Kick Up The Backside
"I think the boys have had enough - and they're not willing to take it anymore", said 42-year-old Lawrence, who still plys his trade with non-league Cobham.

“I think some of the boys will boycott the initiative [by refusing to wear the Kick It Out t-shirts). They [the PFA] have got a chance now to send out a strong message to start backing the players and, if that doesn’t happen, I think we’ll move away from them.

“The FA banned [Luis] Suarez for eight games and gave him a £40,000 fine. Terry got eight games and a £220,000 fine. I don’t know what the difference is between the two. £220,000 is not a lot of money for Terry. It’s about ten days’ wages. Four games is ridiculous.

“Jonjo Shelvey made a tackle in a massive game against Man United and got three games [suspension]. How does John Terry get only one more game than that for racism?”

The PFA should bring pressure to bear on the Football Association. As top-to-bottom custodians of the English game, they can make the difference by stepping up anti-racism campaigns.


listen to ‘Black players proclaim 'enough is enough'’ on Audioboo


There's no point in putting up a spokesman to talk up the initiatives they're involved in - because they're not nearly enough and appear to be a further cause for division.

It'd be a very bad day if the threat of a black players union was ever realised - not least because the sooner we all realise this is a problem for everyone - irrespective of skin colour, the more united we will be.