Sport and Racism have been hand in glove for a long time.
From Jesse Owens to Mario Balotelli, racism has always dogged the sporting world with innumerable cases of ‘black’ athletes being targeted with racist slurs and overtures. The earliest incident would certainly be of German dictator Adolf Hitler refusing to shake hands with Afro-American Owens after his stellar performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
While more recently, Balotelli who is of Ghanaian origin, had to endure racist chants from Seria A fans during his time at Inter Milan.
Closer back home, it is always a common phenomenon during cricket matches, when ‘fans’ make it a point to label dark-skinned cricketers, or the other obscenities which are generally hurled at the men fielding in the deep.
FIFA have taken up the initiative to weed out racism in soccer with its anti-racism campaigns, which have to some extent succeeded.
Recently, Uruguayan Luiz Suarez received a lengthy eight-match domestic ban for racially abusing Frenchman Patrice Evra.
Like, Evra and Drenthe, there are many Afro-American athletes who have to put up with racial abuses during college level and professional matches.
But it is heartening to see that in the United States, the Afro-Americans are now at par with the Whites, with Americas sporting culture being led by the Afro-American athletes.
Even South Africa, which was once an apartheid nation has produced great talent in cricketers like Makhaya Ntini and Paul Adams, and its soccer team has renowned players such as Steven Pienaar and Aaron Mokoena.
Alhough it is unrealistic to say that racism in sport can be completely weeded out, the sporting world can certainly do its bit in honouring great talents.
Irrespective of whether they are black or white.