All eyes are now on the country of Brazil due to the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) 2014 World Cup. The organization, created and led by European countries, has been around since 1904. Other countries have since joined; which is now obvious as this year’s World Cup continues its event.
The men’s soccer teams from different parts of the world are now the focus. Today the United States plays Belgium – a do or die situation. If the U.S. loses, they go home.
The soccer phase in America is at its peak due to the World Cup when normally soccer, being the international world sport, usually does not distract Americans. The U.S. has too many other sports to contend with; and this international game of futbol is different from America’s football – in which the preseason starts in a few weeks.
Nevertheless major U.S. cities today have specific setups and places where people can go, bring their lawn chairs, sit outdoors and watch on the big screens when the event starts. Or they can go to sports bars and lounges, stay inside where it’s cooler, and booze up the afternoon.
Yes, soccer is hot right now in America, but after it’s over its status will go down and American sports will resume. In Europe the popularity of soccer will continue, but the game that takes place is anything but congenial – especially toward black players.
Last month the HBO sports series “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” did a segment on racism in soccer, just in time before this year’s World Cup began. Nine years ago a story was produced on the same topic which brought out “a common disgrace” and little has changed since then. The sports/entertainment cable network ESPN also did a story on racism in soccer.
The abuse black players receive on the soccer field is disgraceful – while many are the top players of their team. Racist rants, bananas thrown, monkey chants, bullying antics, name-calling and other terrible behavior is displayed by European whites in soccer audiences that is a regular part of the game. The behavior is so bad that at times blacks have stopped playing due to being taunted.
Authorities in charge of the soccer federations have done little to correct the problem; many denying that anything is actually wrong despite footage of misbehavior in soccer audiences documented.
Though America in its soccer games do not show this type of behavior now, in the past it was commonplace when blacks stepped on the field or on the court they also experienced the same racist behavior. Though small compared to the past, incidents still occur. The latest news that hit the headlines was when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist remarks about blacks. His comments cost him to sell the team. In August 2013 Alexander Poulides threw a banana near Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones due to his anger when the San Francisco Giants lost to the Orioles by a score of 10-2. Poulides later apologized for the incident.