You'll have seen the reports already concerning the SBL (Society of Black Lawyers) who are seeking to set up a union for black players and their threat directed at Tottenham concerning the use of the Y word. They plan to report the club to the police if the club / The FA fail to make a zero tolerance stand against it by the 20th November. They're going to have monitors in attendance to observe and report.
Can't decide whether I'm offended by the fact the SBL refereed to us as 'Tottenham FC' or laugh how they've chosen the 20th instead of waiting until the 25th when West Ham United visit White Hart Lane where they're will be plenty of audio for their monitors to report on. The ilk of audio that carries the ugly potency of intent. But I guess actual vile racism isn't on the agenda. Just publicity. Shades of Baddiel.
Arguably, the SBL appear to be indirectly discriminating against us just to drive awareness for their own agenda. It's obviously working. Everyone's talking about it.
To resolve the issues we have in modern football concerning racism we have to now contend with people that don't understand football trying to make an example of something that is hardly relevant when there is an institutionalised culture within our game that ignores far more serious problems. Why is it when someone attempts to make a stand on racism they do so sitting down?
The Y-word has been covered a fair few times already and it's a controversial one for a number of complex reasons and rationalisations. I'm not going to revisit it but I do want to say, well done to Tottenham Hotspur and the statement they released in response to the one released by the SBL. It included some poignant quotes:
"Real anti-Semitic abuse, such as hissing to simulate the noise of gas chambers, is the real evil and the real offence"
"Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect anti-Semitic abuse. Our position on this topic is very clear. The club does not tolerate any form of racist or abusive chanting.
Our guiding principle in respect of the 'Y-word' is based on the point of law itself - the distinguishing factor is the intent with which it is used, ie if it is used with the deliberate intention to cause offence. This has been the basis of prosecutions of fans of other teams to date.
They do not use the term to others to cause any offence, they use it a chant amongst themselves.
We believe this is the area that requires a determined and concerted effort from all parties and where we seek greater support to eradicate."
There is no doubt that the Y-word is perceived as being offensive and non-offensive by Tottenham fans, Jewish or otherwise. It's generational for some and for others the word is simply not acceptable where as a sizeable majority have embraced the word for the very reasons outlined by the club. Outside of football I wouldn't envisage using it and I'm sure most Tottenham fans feel the same. Yet inside football, some appear to believe the use of the word is somehow key to fighting the fight with removing racism from football. Surely it makes more sense to isolate the real anti-Semitic abuse because those that are guilty of it, they are the reason the Y-word continues to be used. If you remove the true racist element from the game, then we - Tottenham supporters - would have no reason to use it. The Y-word is not the trigger, it's the consequence.
All of this serves a very sad conclusion that the authorities and any organisation that seeks to work towards a better footballing environment and culture aren't trying hard enough. Why are you all so fearful? Why is it so difficult to talk openly about the truly offensive chanting and abuse that takes place?
Nothing will be kicked out because nobody is doing any kicking.
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