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2014年8月27日 (水)

社説:サッカーとバナナ 人種差別を根絶しよう

August 26, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: J.League should adopt zero tolerance toward racism
社説:サッカーとバナナ 人種差別を根絶しよう

It's not their fault but bananas have become a symbolic sign of racism. We must eradicate all sorts of discrimination from soccer stadiums and society.
During a J.League game between Yokohama F. Marinos and Kawasaki Frontale at a stadium in Yokohama on Aug. 23, a teenage Marinos fan sitting behind the Marinos goal waved a banana toward the pitch. It was just after a Brazilian player with Frontale failed to score a goal and was about to turn back.

During questioning by Marinos' officials, the teenager explained that he was aware of his act of provocation but that it wasn't aimed at any particular player. His explanation underscores a lack of awareness against discrimination, which the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), as well as soccer leagues across the globe, have been trying so hard to eliminate from stadiums.

Throwing bananas onto the pitch carries the connotation of calling someone a monkey and is a well-known means of racial discrimination. Since African footballers started to play in the European leagues in the 1970s, there has been a spate of discriminatory incidents involving bananas. Those incidents represent the dark side of racial and ethnic diversity.

During a Spanish league game in April, a banana was thrown onto the pitch at the feet of FC Barcelona player Dani Alves as he was about to take a corner. The Brazilian national team player picked up the banana, peeled it and ate it, and then kicked the ball as if nothing had happened.

Such a humorous reaction to an act of discrimination sparked worldwide compassion, prompting not only fellow soccer players but also the Italian prime minister to be photographed peeling a banana and then post it on Facebook and other social media. Unfortunately, however, there is an endless stream of similar acts of discrimination in Europe.

In the J.League, the Urawa Reds were penalized with an unprecedented game behind closed doors after its supporters displayed a racist banner reading "Japanese Only" at Saitama Stadium in March. Urawa's management was criticized for leaving the banner unaddressed until after the game while some spectators had raised questions about it.
 Jリーグでは3月、浦和のサポーターによって人種差別横断幕「JAPANESE ONLY(日本人以外お断り)」が埼玉スタジアムに掲げられ、浦和に史上初の無観客試合が科された。観客から指摘を受けながら、クラブ側が試合終了まで放置したことも問題だった。

Lessons and reflections from that incident may have led to the Marinos' quick reaction to the latest incident. The club decided to impose an indefinite ban on the teenager later the same day, and the Marinos' president reported the incident as an "act of discriminatory provocation" to J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai on Aug. 25. The J.League is poised to impose sanctions on the Marinos at an early date.

What takes place at soccer stadiums represents the realities of society. The J.League should take this incident as an opportunity to send out a message to society that discrimination is totally intolerable and demonstrate its spirit of "zero tolerance" to racism and discrimination, following the footsteps of FIFA and other organizations.

毎日新聞 2014年08月26日 02時30分


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