‘A gangrene that we must eradicate’ – Former Arsenal star, Patrick Vieira, wants an end to racism

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The change of attitude towards black football players and black people generally appears to have reached a watershed moment in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

Former Arsenal captain, Patrick Vieira, is the latest in a long line of black athletes to lend their voice to the debate, and the Frenchman is crystal clear as to what he wants to see happen.

Rather than just there being a token and passing appreciation of the Black Lives Matter movement and similar initiatives, Vieira wants real change. Particularly within football.

“Now is the time for collective action and awareness of a problem that transcends origins, socio-professional categories or borders,” he said to L’Equipe and cited by the Daily Mail.

“Discrimination is a reality that we must stop evading, a gangrene that we must eradicate from society, denounce with firmness but also with unity.

“To tolerate intolerance is to be guilty. To accept non-punishment is to accept our helplessness. To be content to be a spectator of the unpunished crime is to assume our complicity. To be silent is to acquiesce.

“Talking is a start, but talking is no longer enough. Action must take precedence over words and to act, we would have to increase our presence. If I take the example of football, we must aim for a normalisation of what time and statistics have limited to the exceptional.

“Very few, too few black coaches. Ditto in management positions, ditto in governing bodies, ditto in terms of governance. The debates will also be productive because we will be invited to the table.”

It’s hard to disagree with the former midfielder’s sentiments, and with it being such a hot potato topic, there’s never been a more pertinent time for action to be taken.

Whether or not the discussions that are being had bear fruit to the extent where real change will be evident rather than just a pipe dream, remains to be seen.

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