Tackling Racism in Sports: How We All Can Help

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I don’t want to assume, but my wildest guess would be you’re here right now because you’re interested in tackling racism in sports. Maybe you’ve been a victim, and even if you haven’t, racism is a topic that concerns us all as members of the black community,  especially in a sector like sports where you find endless Black Excellence!

In this article, we will look at a few instances of racism in sports and discuss how we can help tackle racism in sports as coaches, P.E. teachers, parents, athletes, and brands.

Racism in Sports

Separated Leagues

Latino and African-American players were not allowed to play in the major leagues because of the increased segregation in those leagues in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Numerous Negro leagues were founded between the early 1900s and the 1950s to fight prejudice and demonstrate to the public that they were in no way different from their white rivals.

Kalidou Koulibaly

tackling-racism-in-sports
Source: football.london

Surprisingly, in times like this, where people claim to be progressive, we can still see racism in sports and other areas of life. On November 2nd, 2019, the football match between Napoli and Roma got suspended after Napoli player Kalidou Koulibaly was booed repeatedly during the game because of the color of his skin.

The players and officials on both teams found the act unacceptable. And that was the end of the match. 

This event is one we won’t remember in a good way.

Can We All Help Tackle Racism in Sports?

tackling-racism-in-sports
Source: Freepik

Yes, we can! The fight against racism is a collaborative effort, not a one-man squad. One man can speak out and take action, but the power of a statement comes from the support it receives from like-minded individuals.

Tackling racism in sports starts with you, in whatever facet you find yourself – as a parent, a teacher, an individual, a coach, or a business owner.  So how can YOU help?

As a Coach or P.E. Teacher

As a coach in charge of talented students or athletes from various backgrounds, tackling racism or any other factor that will dampen the productivity and cooperation of your team is key. 

To tackle racism in sports, you must first understand imbalance and inequality still exist in society. It is not an easy task to talk about racism or stand up against it, but before you can tackle it, you need to acknowledge it. 

You can start by speaking up whenever someone makes a biased, bigoted, or hateful remark. Let your team know your stance concerning racism as coach and leader. Inconsistent responses can give the impression that bigotry is okay, which will only sow fear and distrust within the team.

As a Parent

tackling-racism-in-sports
Source: Freepik

As a parent of an athlete, tackling racism in sports starts with setting an example. Firstly, ensure your home is a safe place for your athlete kids where they can freely talk about any of their encounters. 

You may also need to have the necessary and rational conversations with adults or authorities in a position to stop the bias – school principals, teachers, and coaches.

As aggravating as racism against your child may be, irate responses will only serve to perpetuate stereotypes. So try your best to avoid them.

As a Brand

  • Educate your audience

Having conversations is a crucial part of eliminating the problem of racism not only in sports but also in society at large. However, even with infographics and anti-racism tools disseminating faster than ever, so do hate speech and racist insults.

By educating your followers and changing behavior, your brand can address the root cause of racism and help consumers realize their roles as active allies.

  • Speak up on social media
tackling-racism-in-sports
Source: Freepik

If a social media platform designed to be inclusive turns out to be a place for hate speech and racist remarks, it should not be quelled by silence; hiding them also won’t do the trick. Go further by underlining the community ethos, educating your audience, and community support. 

Develop strategies to help you foster the environment you want on your accounts.

  • Know when to react

Knowing when to react is essential to the fight against all forms of racism on social media. While there is much more work to do to quash online hate, brands can play a part by taking bold steps to eliminate bigotry from their communities.

  • Celebrate Black Athletes

Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Dez Bryant, Naomi Osaka, and Colin Kaepernick. These are just a few among many other Black athletes who have set records and made statements. 

In the fight against racism in sports, black-owned brands can celebrate black athletes and their achievements. That would make a statement no one can refute. 

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Shalom Ngbala-Okpabi
Shalom Ngbala-Okpabi
We learned to read and write in school, and I took mine to another level.

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