Thursday, 17 November 2011

Stephen Lawrence & Sepp Blatter

Compare and contrast. One, a quiet and reserved family who have endured nearly two decades not only of the constant gut wrenching grief that must come with the knowledge that their son died in such a brutal, violent and inhuman way but also the fact that in the years that followed they were confronted with the awful fact that some of those responsible for finding their son's killers may have actually shared those killers' attitudes. Faced with that Doreen and Neville Lawrence, who never wanted fame and certainly didn't seek the public eye have acted with nothing but dignity as they refused to go away, as many in officialdom wanted them to.

Institutional racism became one of the most well worn phrases of the 1990s and for good reason. Police officers hated it but they couldn't escape the fairly obvious fact that it was a problem. I remember being at school and then college as this unfolded, and it's stayed with me as vividly as other scenes that defined my generation as they grew up, like the seemingly mighty Berlin Wall being pushed over by ordinary people with their hands and hammers right in front of the armed guards.

So what's the point of all of this then - the point is, almost 20 years on, I just sat on a central line tube and read two articles, here in 2011. One of them was about Stephen's friend who was also an intended victim of the racist gang in Eltham that killed Stephen, who came through the trauma of reliving that night in 1993 through the added pain of having lost his father the night before.

And then I read another story.

The one about a 75 year old man, bloated with corruption, who runs the world body for football, FIFA. He says that racism is not a problem and that players subjected to it should basically get over themselves and shake hands with those who shouted the racist insult at them. Like when Stephen's murderers shouted their own racist insults before they started their attack, presumably. Because that's where racism ultimately ends up, as I saw for myself here.

Stephen's parents have grey hair now, and the alleged killers are middle aged. The Police have improved a lot but when you compare and contrast these stories you have to wonder how much progress we've actually made.


  1. Well said Chris, the McPhereson Lawrence report had a huge impact in moving race relations in the UK on in all sections society. Unfortunately Europe is still in the dark ages as shown in Spain and Blatters comments repeat the 'ignore it' line as a solution to racism.... Iain Muir

  2. When will football fans realise? Their culture was ripped-off yonks ago. You are being exploited because football is a global business full of sharks, spivs & crooks. It's like pop music, brewing, drugs, arms. It's dodgy & it's run by very very rich people for their benefit not yours or the players.

    You bought a pup. Don't expect anything better. It won't happen mate.

  3. Sepp Blatter is a charmless oaf. If there really was any decency in football, he would have been kicked out years ago.

  4. Didn't the Lawrence report criminalising racist statements made in private? Didn't we witness an almost public lynching of the suspects despite the court not finding them guilty? And you Romantise it?

    Sepp Blatter is most certainly a corrupt idiot, but on this subject he was right.