Nick Abbot 12am - 1am
Football Dad Tells Shocking Story About Racism In English Stadium
15 October 2019, 15:59
A football dad tells Shelagh a shocking story about the racism his son's best friend experienced in an English stadium.
"A couple of years ago I took my son to see a football match and he asked if one of his friends could come along who's a black kid. They've been best friends for a long time," said the caller Simon.
"It was a Premier League match in a cosmopolitan area somewhere down south - not particularly the place you'd expect to encounter racism.
"First thing that happened was on the way in, we went through separate turnstiles, and I looked back to my son's friend and my son's friend was pretty much the only person that had been searched. A 13 year old kid - nobody else was being searched. It was quite obvious that they'd picked him out of a crowd and searched him."
Simon said he was powerless to do anything about it because he'd been halfway through the turnstile.
He then said in the football match, two women behind him in their twenties started to shout abuse at black players on the pitch.
"These women were not particularly badly dressed or looked like they might be badly educated. I was standing there next to this 13 year old kid and my son and it was the most embarrassing cringe-worthy moment I've had."
Shelagh asked him what he did and Simon said he "turned round to them and I shook my finger and gave them the sternest look I could." He said they did stop but he didn't want to do any more as he didn't want to ruin the kids' day.
"I don't think racism is an endemic in football, I think racism is an endemic in this country. That's the biggest problem."
Shelagh said: "The reason the focus is football is because of last night but I'm just curious about where it gets tackled and where it doesn't get tackled."
Shelagh said that while the priority was to stop the little boy hearing the racial slurs, she said she might have taken it further and gone to the steward to ask them to be removed.
"In hindsight I should've done," Simon said, "I wanted them to have a nice day out."
He continued: "I think the problem is that football is the focus point of it - this is where hundreds of people get together and their opinions come out. In isolation we should look at the rest of society."