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Religion, culture and racism in sport

Racism is a global issue that occurs in everyday life. For many years now sports and racism have been more often than not associated together, with incidences being frequently reported in the media.

There have been many efforts to eliminate racism in sport, including national campaigns including 'Let's Kick Racism out of Football', 'Show Racism the Red Card' and 'Racing Against Racism'. Large sums of money are invested to run community and national campaigns, from organised local tournaments to Premiership players wearing armbands when playing during the awareness weeks.

Most sports will have experienced racism whether it is towards community participants or national performers. Some recent examples include:

  • Mario Balotelli is an Inter Milan striker. He was taunted by Juventus fans so viciously that the club was fined and forced to play a match behind closed doors (2010).
  • Amir Khan is a WBA World light welterweight champion boxer. He revealed in an interview that while he has never experienced racism to his face, he has experienced slurs on websites and chat forums (2009).
  • Lewis Hamilton is a F1 racing driver. During pre-season testing near Barcelona, he was subjected to racist comments and was faced with a group of spectators who were dressed up in wigs, dark make-up and t-shirts with the slogan "Hamilton's family" (2008).

The media have played a positive part in attempting to reduce racism in sport. When reporting on racist incidences, they articulate their support for the athletes and criticise the racists, with the intention of influencing the reader to feel the same. Other forms of media such as film have addressed issues of racism by producing high quality movies including Bend it Like Beckham, and Goal.