When Will Fans In Certain European Countries Enter The 21st Century?

By Andrew Dixon, III
Updated: November 23, 2004

Thierry Henry

MIAMI, FLA.—Black players from England’s National team were recently subjected to monkey chants and serenaded with chants of “If you’re not a fuc***g Black, jump up and down.” Usually defenders of such actions try and minimize it, saying it’s only a few people who do this or they really aren’t racist, they’re just trying to get under the players’ skin.


The Spanish Football Press Officer, Fernando Garrido tried to blame the British press of stirring up trouble.

“Were there racist chants against some players? This hasn’t happened in the Spanish league and Spain for many years,” he said. “So you (English reporters) should ask yourselves what you have done to contribute to all this.”

Brotha, please.

The whole situation began a month or so ago when Spanish coach Luis Aragones, in an attempt to “motivate” up and coming Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes referred to his club teammate, France’s Thierry Henry as a “Negro de mierda” which translates to “Black piece of [excrement].”

In a spin worthy of the Republican National Committee, he denied being a racist and when pressed about it ahead of the international exhibition between England and Spain, turned on the English press saying that the English, given their colonial history, had no right to call anyone racist.

It only got worse. Anytime star English defender Ashley Cole touched the ball, he was greeted with monkey chants. The chants were loudest when Shawn Wright Phillips came on as a substitute in the 2nd half.

So what’s to be done? This is not the first time Black players have been racially abused. Fans in Eastern Europe and certain parts of Italy are notorious for their racist behavior, which often surface during UEFA Champions League matches. However the response by FIFA, the world governing body for Soccer, and its European counterpart, UEFA, has always been minimal.

It’s time that FIFA & UEFA start getting hard-core in their responses to this foolishness. Deducting points from World Cup or European Championship qualifying would be a start. Heavy fines and bans is another.

But FIFA & UEFA needs to act soon.

England didn’t just lose as a result of this foolishness.

Football lost.