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Say No to Racism in Sport

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One of our grade 12 students, Magnus, has managed to combine doing the IB Diploma with playing hockey at a very high level. In this article he tells us about one of the less attractive parts of sports - racism.

Magnus+in+action
Magnus in action

Magnus in action

Magnus in action

My name is Magnus, and I have been playing hockey since the age of 5. I have played both in Sweden, Germany, Finland, USA, Switzerland and have played together with players from Russia, Canada, Czech Republic, Austria, France, and Italy. I have played more than 850 games of Ice Hockey, and my goals are to play in the World Cup and the Olympics. Through hockey I have been able to meet new people and travel the world. During this time I have experienced many ups and downs. One thing that stands out is racism in the sport and I have realised that racism does not only occur in hockey. It is much bigger than that.

Racism has always been an issue sports. People who are not very engaged in sports probably have not noticed that there is a lot of racism in sports. To decrease racism in sports it is important that people are aware of the issue. If more people become aware of this issue then there is a greater chance that it will be stopped.

It can be on the field that opponents exchange racial slurs with each other, but it is mostly when the fans are engaged with the match and shout things onto the field that racist slurs are exchanged. These are usually towards players and officials. There have been serious cases with police investigations, however in most cases there are no consequences

Racism does not only occur in professional sports, it is also present in amateur sports. There have been many cases where racism has been a problem in junior leagues. I myself have witnessed that racial slurs have been thrown at opponents during my own junior hockey games. To prevent this from happening in any sports, the federations of several sports have set up rules to penalise people using racial slurs. For example, in hockey, a player using racial slurs would get a match penalty, meaning that they immediately have to leave the current game and depending on exactly what was said the Swedish Hockey Federation would examine the case and decide the number of games the player will be banned from playing. There have been major discussions about  this kind of penalty and if it has lead to less discrimination.

Racism and discrimination have not only affected the players but also the officials. There was a study made by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation regarding the violence and discrimination against Swedish junior hockey officials. In a study, “Hårt Klimat För Svenska Ishockeydomare,”  John Fransson, found that an official needs a high pain threshold to be able to stand up against the violence and discrimination that they meet in their job. He also reported that 1 out of 7 officials have been afraid of violence and infringements on several occasions.

There are many examples of excessive use of racial slurs towards players and officials from the past. More recently, this year for example, Arizona State University’s Torian Graham showed his middle finger to the crowd after that they had allegedly yelled racial slurs at him. Kynan Marlin reported in an article in the State Press, “Racism Still Exists in the World of Sports, ”  when asked about how Marcus Smart, a player for Oklahoma State, ran jumped  into the stands  and physically shoved a fan after hearing racial slurs. There are many more such incidents where racial slurs have been used to antagonise players.

Racism is still today a very big problem in sports. It is hard to point out single people and even harder to control big groups of fans and tell them what to do and what not to do but there have been several planned campaigns which try to prevent racism in sports. The most popular one being the “Say no to racism” campaign by the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). The goal with this campaign was and still is to stop racism in football. They created a video where football stars from different countries throughout the world  including, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manuel Neuer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arjen Robben, Gareth Bale and Lionel Messi, said, “Say no to racism” in their respective languages. This was an international approach to stop racism in football. On the UEFA website, it says, “This campaign is to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football.” It has had a lot of impact on the football world, but it has not eradicated racism in sports.

Racism and discrimination have been and still are  big problems in sports today and I believe that it will stay this way if nothing is done about it. People need to be educated about racism in sports. If people unite and work together I believe that it can be stopped.

I, myself, have experienced racism towards me because as a German I have played many years in Sweden. Hockey is a competitive sport and I have witnessed players doing everything they can in order to be better than another player, including using racism taunts. Without racism the sports world would be a happier and safer environment.  We, sports players, should act as a positive example for people.

 

Biography  – Magnus E

2005-2007: Hockey School Djurgårdens IF

2007-2015: Djurgårdens IF Youth (U9-U16)

2014-2015: Swedish Champion U16

2015-2016: Djurgårdens IF U16 and J18 (Juniors 18)

2016-2017: Djurgårdens IF J18 and J20

2016-2017:

  • J18 Elit (East) Best face-off percentage (68.73%)
  • J18 Elit (East) Best plus/minus (+32)
  • J18 Elit (Overall) Best plus/minus (+32)

2017-2018: Djurgårdens IF J18 and J20 → Eisbären Juniors Berlin U19

2017-2018: Germany vice champion

2018-2019: Frankfurt Lions Professional Hockey Player

 

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