Sol Campbell said he would have been England captain if he was white: Good on him for daring to speak out about racism in football

Welcome to the fold, Sol. We need your voice

Share

Sol Campbell, one of England’s best footballers of recent times, seems to be intensely private, thoughtful and complex.  He retired in 2012.  Now the tall, black man with intense eyes has spoken up, opened up.

Racism, he feels, stalked him when playing the purportedly ‘beautiful game’. Some barbaric fans shouted monkey noises and racist abuse every time he touched the ball; unsurprisingly (though unforgivably) he says his team-mates, coaches, managers and sportswriters didn’t mind or care about the ritual humiliation. Why would they? It wasn’t happening to them.

Black and Asian players are “sissies” if they can’t take a bit of banter. Fellow-players threw in some homophobic teasing. Sol didn’t join in with sexist, lewd repartee and so to them that meant he must have been gay. The ex-footballer also claims that he didn’t get to be the England captain because he wasn’t white. Lord Triesman, FA chairman from 2008 to 2011, admits that had this talented man been white, he “would have captained England on more occasions”. To Triesman, man of the establishment, this is not conscious racism, just how things happen.

You see the problem? Today, even in-your-face racism is now not racism. Sol has broken a big taboo. People of colour must move on and ignore the slurs, accept their lot, not make a fuss, be nice and quiet. Most now do just that. Which is why racism is rising and toxic again, much more so than in the 1990s.

The hostility to immigration is one reason. Of course politicians of all parties, guided by Nigel Farage, insist that to relentlessly malign “bloody foreigners” is not to be racist. It bloody is. They don’t go on about American or Aussie migrants do they? Diversity priorities have not helped. Gay people and women are at least heard when they speak up about injustices. Race inequality has fallen off the agenda and no one is bending down to retrieve it. Among minorities, a sense of powerlessness grows, and with it suppressed rage.   

As if that wasn’t bad enough, those who speak up against bigotry are penalised, insulted, trolled. Welcome to the fold Sol. We need your voice. And don’t let the bastards get you down.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all