By Navpreet Mangat
Euro 2020, Wimbledon, Olympics - July has been an unstoppable month for sports fans. Even ‘Freedom Day’ was overshadowed by England’s first T20 match against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
However, this month also highlighted the not-so-beautiful side of sports – that, sadly, deeply rooted racist behaviour and attitudes still exist on and off the pitch. In fact, a YouGov survey across Europe revealed that more than 90% of fans in Britain admit racism remains a problem in football, and 79% of ethnically diverse British fans said racism is a serious issue affecting the sport.
Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemning the racist abuse of England players in the Euro 2020 final, and the Union Cyclist Internationale issuing a statement against the words of German cycling coach Patrick Moster during the men’s Olympic time trial, it is clear that there is still a long way to go before we are in a society where racism is near non-existent.
One of the key takeaways we learned from reading a Metro article published earlier this month is that racism in sports does not exist in a vacuum, it is part of our society, our workplaces and our institutions. For those of us affected by seeing racism online – either the initial abuse, or reposted comments - this article also outlines a list of coping mechanisms that is well worth a read.
At Allison+Partners, we recognise that we need to continuously educate ourselves and take meaningful steps to address this problem so we can work together to identify impactful solutions. If you have a moment, read our blog here on the four steps we can all take now to help work towards racial equality.
Please see below for some of the DE&I content that we read and discussed in July.
Over the last year, more people have been thinking more seriously about anti-racism and allyship. In this article, Psychologist Dr Roberta Babb explains that when we share screenshots of racist messages and focus on ‘calling people out’ and shaming the people who have posted them, we are individualising racism and potentially losing site of the bigger, more systemic problems.
A religious transformation has taken place in football and signs of the cross on the pitch, and hands raised in prayer before games and after goals, are now commonplace. Matt Baker, National Director of Sports Chaplaincy UK, shares how he has seen an influx in terms of players of faith over the last 20 years. He says, “we get told that in society people are less interested in spiritual matters and not so many people go to church, but I find it actually the reverse within football.”
On International Non-Binary People's Day (Wednesday 14 July 2021), Mayor of Bangor, Owen J Hurcum, speaks candidly to the community in Wales about how people can be a better ally to non-binary people. Owen is the first person to be openly non-binary and hold a mayor position but says “that will mean nothing if I'm the last.”
According to Scope, the disability charity, disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed compared with others in the UK. In this article, aspiring journalist Isabelle Jani-Friend recalls the time she sent off more than 140 job applications, but only three led to an interview. She says she convinced herself she was doing something wrong in her search for a job in the media, but after one bruising encounter she realised it was not her. It was her disability.
In case you missed it, take a look here at what we read and discussed in June 2021, including the gender gap in the tech industry and UK government’s handling of racism in sport.