Mike Maignan speaks candidly about racist abuse suffered against Juventus on Sunday

Mike Maignan speaks candidly about racist abuse suffered against Juventus on Sunday

Mike Maignan speaks candidly about racist abuse suffered against Juventus on Sunday

Maignan opens the lid on racism in football

AC Milan keeper Mike Maignan is the latest Black footballer to suffer targeted racial abuse during a match when I Rossoneri paid a visit to Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Rather than try to do his words justice, maybe it is better if you hear it from the man himself;

Sunday night, at the Allianz Stadium, some Juventus fans threw racist insults and chants around me. What do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that racism is bad and that these fans are stupid? It’s not about that.

I am not the first and I won’t be the last player who will experience that. As long as we will look at what happened as ‘isolated incidents,’ history will repeat itself again, and again, and again.

What do we do to fight racism in the football stadium? Do we really believe it is effective? I am in a Club that strives to be a leader in opposing every type of discrimination. But we need to do more and all united in this battle against a societal issue bigger than football itself.

Do the people who take decisions know what it feels to hear insults that portray us as animals? Do they know what it does to our family, to our relatives who just can’t understand why these things keep happening in 2021?

I am not a ‘victim’ of racism. I am Mike, standing up, black and proud. As long as we will be able to raise our voice and make a difference, we’ll do it.” [quotes via Juvefc.com]

The hard truth about racism and discrimination

Racism and discrimination of any kind – against any group – is very easy to understand; it is rooted in ignorance. An unwillingness to understand. A willingness to make assumptions and believe nothing more than stereotypical rumors or beliefs about a particular race, creed, or any group without doing your due diligence to educate yourself.

As a Black man who has experienced racist abuse in many walks of life – be it in school, in football, in my career, or in various social situations – the prevailing understanding on the receiving end is that those who will easily abuse either deny the very existence of racism, or, assume it is easy to move past. It isn’t.

Though Mike Maignan is correct in his sentiments that it is vital that people stand up to it while remaining proud of their respective heritages, the reality is a hard pill to swallow; that it likely will never change.

Racist rhetoric and feelings of prejudice and discrimination are rooted in hundreds of years of ideologies that has never been appropriately addressed. The institutions that continue to label incidents as isolated – as Maignan mentions – only serve to perpetrate the issues.

‘I am not the first and I won’t be the last player who will experience that.’ AC Milan’s Mike Maignan speaks out against racism abuse in Juventus clash

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – SEPTEMBER 02: Declan Rice of England drinks from a cup that was thrown at Raheem Sterling after scoring their first goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Hungary and England at Stadium Puskas Ferenc on September 02, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The abuse suffered by England trio Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho is just but one example. Hungarian fans vocally attacking Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham is another.

Then there is Glen Kamara, who was abused by Ondrej Kudela on the pitch, or the countless examples in years past cited by Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Sully Muntari, and others.

While things can change…and must change…it is hard to see just when, how, and where change will originate from. Until that is known, it is likely these incidents will keep continuing until football federations care enough to crack down in the harshest manner possible.


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