I appreciate your strong views on the issue of racism and the response to racism in sport in particular further to the Irish Daily Star feature regarding the experience of racism by players in Ireland. I would hope that the newspaper can provide space so that we can reply to your article.
See Irish Daily Star article here Robert Cox Star
See our response here
I take in the best sense your view but have to object to your lines ‘Stop all this ‘Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card, Give Peace a Chance crap and get ‘Zero Tolerance’ serious as this line infers that Show Racism the Red Card is a meaningless slogan.
Show Racism the Red Card is much more than a slogan. Our budget is limited to on average €80,000 a year and with this we are able to run programmes including education workshops in schools, education workshops with sports organisations, our intercultural summer camp, poster campaigns, anti racism creative competition for schools and youth services and we also offer advice and support to those who experience racism.
Show Racism the Red Card are currently in the process of updating our DVD Education resources, which are used by teachers in schools across the country. We have engaged players from Leinster rugby Sean O’ Brien and Aaron Dundon, Irish international soccer Simon Cox, Darren Randolph, David Meyler and James Mc Carthy and the Northern Ireland manager Michael O’ Neill and have some more filming to do and hope to involve other stars in Irish sport to get behind the campaign.
Racism is unfortunately a very real issue in Ireland. It occurs a different levels from insidious forms of bullying and anti social behaviour right through to physical attacks. You suggest that we forget about trying to stop racism but instead just punish it. We disagree.
The high profile of incidences in sport and the role of the media is very important. When incidences are highlighted in the media then people can see the responses. For Show Racism the Red Card, we are able to show that young people can report incidences if and when they do occur because action can be taken.
Challenging a culture of silence on the part of young people who are reluctant to tell adults in authority is key. When Luis Suarez and John Terry were reported, no one thinks badly of Rio Ferdinand or Patrice Evra, but the rules at the top level of the game apply at the grassroots as well. That is why the FAI Intercultural Programme and Show Racism the Red Card are available to speak to clubs, leagues and referees to inform them that there is a 5 match ban and fine penalty for racism within soccer.
We applaud the GAA in Wexford who took robust action against racism and barred an umpire for 26 weeks this Summer. This is good for a programme like ours so that we can inform young people that they should expect that if they report racism, action will be taken. We believe that there is a dual approach to tackling racism. It should involve fines and penalties where appropriate and combined with a programme of education.
If we work to promote education against racism, we will reach far more people than simple punitive action following an incident. It is also important to promote the right culture within a school, sporting organisation or other group so that young people feel comfortable reporting and challenging racism as it occurs.
45% of teachers attending the Teachers Union of Ireland conference in 2010, reported they had witnessed classroom racism in the month prior to their conference. This figure suggests teachers and those working with young people have a crucial role to play in tackling racism.