Another week, another set of racial abuse allegations in European soccer.
This time it involves one of the Premier League’s biggest stars, Mohamed Salah.
Video of West Ham Fan Using Anti-Muslim Slurs Against Mohamed Salah
While taking a corner kick during Liverpool’s draw against West Ham, Mo Salah absorbed racial slurs from an unruly fan. Fortunately, somebody with a conscience was conscious enough to record it and post it on Twitter.
The below video of a West Ham fan using racial slurs against Mo Salah is alarming–warning to those who watch and might be offended:
(h/t to The Guardian for posting)
West Ham police are aware an investigating, according to ESPN FC.
To West Ham’s credit, they immediately responded with a “zero-tolerance” statement:
“At West Ham United, we have a zero tolerance policy to any form of violent or abusive behaviour. We are an inclusive football club. Regardless of age, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability, everyone is warmly welcomed at London Stadium. Anyone identified committing an offence will have their details passed to the police and will face a lifetime ban from London Stadium. There is no place for this kind of behaviour at our stadium.”
Expect the fan to be identified and banned from West Ham games.
The Latest in a Long Line of Incidents
Unfortunately, this is a major problem for European soccer that either a) is only getting worse, b) is only coming to light thanks to social media, or c) all of the above.
An exhausting and depressing run-down of offenses is detailed by The Guardian here.
While teammates of players facing abusive have spoken out against such behavior, and clubs (like West Ham above) have acted swiftly, epitaphs and insults are still happening at an alarming clip. Unfortunately, European media may be feeding into the problem as Raheem Sterling recently pointed out.
While there have certainly been similar incidents in American sports leagues, the frequency and degree is far from European soccer. Salah is among Europe’s biggest stars. Imagine if something similar was captured from a fan yelling at, say, James Harden? The social media pitchfork mob and mass media in general would fire away in full force, and the repercussions would be harsh and swift (as like what happened with DeShaun Watson recently).
How European soccer deals with this problem–and how quickly they can keep it from happening at its current rate–will have ramifications on the popularity of leagues and teams in the US. For the sake of the game, let’s hope this type of behavior comes to end sooner than later.